Surgery for Lung Cancer

There are several surgical options for lung cancer. Whether you will undergo surgery depends on several factors, including the type of lung cancer you have and the stage of your lung disease. Advanced-stage lung cancer (stage IIIB or IV) is often considered inoperable and will be treated with other therapies. Your oncology team will work with you to decide if surgery is the right treatment option for you.

Surgical Procedures for Removing Lung Cancer:

  • Wedge resection: removal of the tumor with just a small section of healthy surrounding tissue. This procedure may be chosen when removing a larger portion of the lung would compromise lung function.
  • Sublobar resection: removal of a larger portion of the lung, but not an entire lobe
  • Lobectomy: removal of an entire lobe of the lung. The right lung has three lobes, and the left lung has two. The lungs can usually function adequately with the remaining lobes.
  • Pneumonectomy: removal of an entire lung. This procedure is used less often because it greatly decreases overall lung function.

The typical hospital stay for lung cancer surgery is about seven days. Risks associated with lung cancer surgery include infection, bleeding and complications during the healing process. Following lung cancer surgery, some patients may need pulmonary rehabilitation to improve their lung function. Your lung function may be reduced, but you will still be able to live a normal life.