During a pneumonectomy surgery, a lung is removed. After receiving anesthesia, the surgeon cuts into your side, spreads open your ribs, and removes the lung. Afterwards, various drainage tubes are placed and you are stitched up and bandaged. These tubes will be removed in the days following your pneumonectomy surgery; the stitches will either dissolve or be removed later on.
After the anesthesia has taken effect (see Anesthesia for Pneumonectomy), you will be turned onto your side. This makes it easier for your surgeon to reach the area of your ribcage where the incision, or cut, will be made. This area is washed with a special disinfectant solution, and might also be shaved. A catheter, which is a plastic tube, will be put into your bladder. Another tube will be placed down your throat and into your stomach.
The surgeon will make an incision on your side, which will start between two of your ribs and go around to your back. Your ribs will be spread and held open, and part of one rib may be removed to make it easier for the surgeon to reach your lung.
He or she will then carefully cut the veins, arteries, and bronchus to the lung that is being taken out. After being cut, each of these will carefully be sewn closed and the lung will be removed. After this, your surgeon will check inside your chest to make sure that there is no bleeding in or around the lungs.
Depending on your situation, your surgeon may put tubes into your chest to drain extra fluid and air from the chest cavity after the surgery. After the tubes are in, your ribcage will be closed with heavy-duty stitches. The stitches help your ribcage heal and keep it from moving. After this, the layers of tissue under the skin are closed with more stitches, which will dissolve inside your body over time. Finally, your skin is stitched closed and covered with a bandage.
At the end of the pneumonectomy surgery, you may still have the breathing tube, spinal and bladder catheters, stomach tube, and possibly the chest tubes inside your body. These will be removed during your pneumonectomy recovery.