Lung surgery is employed for the repair or removal of diseased lung tissue. There are different types of lung surgeries that can be performed, depending on the nature of the disease:
Lung surgery is performed under general anesthesia. Lung surgery can be performed via thoracotomy (open chest surgery) or video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery (VATS).
In a thoracotomy, the patient is placed on the operating table, on his/her side with the arm placed above the head. This surgery may last for 2 to 6 hours. An incision is made along the side of the chest, towards the back, between the ribs. The ribs are spread apart and the lung on the affected side is deflated to allow more room for the surgeon to operate. The amount of lung tissue that needs to be removed may only be determined after the chest is opened and the lung tissue is examined. The surrounding lymph nodes may also be removed. After the surgery, drainage tubes may be placed in the chest to drain the fluids from the chest cavity. The ribs, muscles, and skin are then closed with sutures.
In video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery (VATS), your surgeon will make several small incisions over your chest wall. A long, thin tube (videoscope) with a camera attached to one end and small surgical instruments are inserted into the chest through the small incisions. Then, a part or the entire lung may be removed. This may also be coupled with other procedures. A chest tube is inserted to drain the accumulated blood or fluid. This surgical approach results in less pain and faster recovery compared to open lung surgery.
A thoracotomy or video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery (VATS) is done to remove lung cancer or tumors, accumulated fluid, blood or blood clots, and infections from the chest cavity. They may also be used for biopsy and management of collapsed lung tissue and lung injuries.