Each lung is made up of 2 or 3 sections called lobes. A lobectomy is the surgical removal of one of these sections from the lung.
A lobectomy is used to treat a variety of lung conditions, such as
Problems from the procedure are rare, but all procedures have some risk. Your doctor will review potential problems, like:
Before your procedure, talk to your doctor about ways to manage factors that may increase your risk of complications, such as:
Your doctor may do the following:
Talk to your doctor about your medications. You may be asked to stop taking some medications up to one week before the procedure.
Before your procedure, you may need to:
anesthesia will be given—you will be asleep during the procedure
A lobectomy may be done in one of two ways:
If you are having a lobectomy to remove cancer, the doctor will also remove lymph glands in your chest. The glands will be tested for any sign of cancer.
After completing the procedure, your doctor will place tubes in your chest. They will help drain the chest cavity. The incision(s) will be closed with stitches or staples.
You will be taken to a recovery room. You will be given fluids and medications through an IV.
Anesthesia will prevent pain during surgery. Pain and discomfort after the procedure can be managed with medications.
You will be asked to cough and walk often. You may be given an incentive spirometer. This is a breathing exercise device that will encourage you to take deep breaths. The chest tube will be removed before you go home.
During your stay, the hospital staff will take steps to reduce your chance of infection, such as:
There are also steps you can take to reduce your chance of infection, such as:
You will have to limit specific activities, but daily walks may be encouraged. Follow instructions on wound care to prevent infection. Your doctor may advise medications to ease discomfort.
Contact your doctor if your recovery is not progressing as expected or you develop complications such as:
Call for emergency medical services right away for:
If you think you have an emergency, call for emergency medical services right away.
American Cancer Society
National Cancer Institute
Canadian Cancer Society
A patient’s guide to lung surgery. University of Southern California Keck School of Medicine website. Available at:
http://www.cts.usc.edu/lpg-index.html. Accessed February 21, 2017.
Information for patients undergoing a thorascopic wedge/lobectomy. University of Michigan Department of Surgery website. Available at:
Updated April 03 2012. Accessed February 21, 2017.
Lobectomy. Johns Hopkins Medicine website. Available at:
http://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/healthlibrary/test_procedures/pulmonary/lobectomy_92,P07749. Accessed February 21, 2017.
Management of resectable non-small cell lung cancer. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T906057/Management-of-resectable-non-small-cell-lung-cancer. Updated December 21, 2015. Accessed February 21, 2017.
Small cell lung cancer. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T115654/Small-cell-lung-cancer. Updated October 15, 2015. Accessed February 21, 2017.
Surgery for Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer. American Cancer Society website. Available at:
https://www.cancer.org/cancer/non-small-cell-lung-cancer/treating/surgery.html. Updated May 16, 2016. Accessed February 21, 2017.
6/3/2011 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T905141/Treatment-for-tobacco-use: Mills E, Eyawo O, Lockhart I, Kelly S, Wu P, Ebbert JO. Smoking cessation reduces postoperative complications: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Am J Med. 2011;124(2):144-154.
Last reviewed March 2017 by EBSCO Medical Review Board
Michael Woods, MD, FAAP
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