If your doctor has identified an abnormality in one of your lungs, a procedure called a lobectomy may be recommended. This is the surgical removal of one of the lobes (sections) of the lung.

The right lung has three lobes, and the left lung has two. By removing only the affected lobe, the remaining healthy tissue is spared to help maintain adequate lung function.

A lobectomy is most commonly performed by a cardiothoracic surgeon who specializes in operating on the chest area. You’ll be glad to know that Northwest Regional Heart & Vascular is home to some of the Portland area’s most experienced cardiothoracic surgeons. This experience translates into excellent patient outcomes that meet or exceed national benchmarks.

Why is a lobectomy performed?

A lobectomy is performed to treat certain conditions of the chest and lungs. These conditions include:

  • Tuberculosis (TB) – A chronic bacterial infection that usually infects the lungs
  • Lung abscess – A collection of pus that forms in the lung
  • Emphysema – A chronic illness that results from the breakdown of the elastic fibers in the lungs, interfering with expansion and contraction of the lungs
  • Benign tumor – A noncancerous mass that can press on major blood vessels and affect the function of other organs
  • Lung cancer – A malignant tumor of the lung
  • Fungal infection – A type of infection that can be difficult to diagnose and treat

What does a lobectomy involve?

There are two different approaches to performing a lobectomy:

  • A lobectomy is most often performed during a surgical procedure called a thoracotomy (surgical incision of the chest). The incision is made at the level of the affected lobe, typically on the front of the chest under the nipple line, and extends around the back under the shoulder blade. The surgeon enters the chest cavity through the exposed ribs to remove the lobe.
  • A minimally invasive procedure called video-assisted thoracic surgery (VATS) may be used to perform a lobectomy. Specialized surgical instruments are inserted into the chest cavity through three or four small incisions. One of the instruments, a thoracoscope, has a tiny camera and transmits the image to a TV-like monitor. Specialized instruments are inserted through the remaining incisions to perform the procedure.

Which procedure is right for me?

Each patient is unique, so your doctor will recommend the most appropriate surgical approach based on careful evaluation of your individual situation. Both procedures require a hospital stay; how long depends on the procedure and your overall health.

Would you like to learn more about lobectomy in Portland? Please call to schedule a consultation: (503) 607-8379.