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What surgeries are used to treat non-small cell lung cancer?

Surgery for non-small cell lung cancer aims to remove diseased tissue, as well as a portion of the surrounding healthy tissue, to keep lung cancer from returning. Different surgeries may be used. A lobectomy removes an entire lobe of one lung. A wedge resection removes a smaller part of lung tissue, including the tumor and some of the surrounding healthy tissue. A segmental resection removes a larger part of the lung than the wedge resection, but stops short of removing a whole lobe. If you must have an entire lung surgically removed, the procedure is known as a pneumonectomy.

Brian D. Mott, MD
Thoracic Surgery (Cardiothoracic Vascular)

The resection of lung for cancer ranges from a simple wedge resection, to a segment of a lobe, to an entire lobe and finally the entire lung itself. The amount removed is determined by how much cancer there is and how much lung you can tolerate having removed.

The two major approaches to the lung is either a rib spreading thoracotomy incision or minimally invasive VATS surgery. The VATS approach is usually for early stage lung cancer and is associated with less post-operative complications.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.