What is pneumonectomy?
Lungs are a part of the respiratory system that removes oxygen from the air and pass it into your blood. Every individual has two lungs; these lungs connect to mouth through a series of tubular structures. A pneumonectomy is a type of surgery to remove one of the lungs. It is done as a treatment for cancer, injury, or infection. One lung can provide enough oxygen and remove enough carbon dioxide from the body.
When is pneumonectomy required?
Lung cancer is the most common reason for a pneumonectomy. Sometimes a pneumonectomy is also needed for other lung diseases, some of these include:
Who performs pneumonectomy?
Pneumonectomy is usually performed by a team of surgeons or doctors who specialize in lung operations (pulmonary surgeons/pulmonologists). During the procedure patient will lie on the side on an operating table with the arm above the head, they may probably get antibiotics to help prevent infection.
- The patient will be given general or epidural anesthesia before the surgery.
- The surgeon makes a cut several inches long between two ribs. The cut will go from under the arm to around the back, on the side of the lung that is being removed.
- The surgeon separates two ribs. In some cases, the surgeon might remove a small part of the rib.
- The surgeon deflates the affected lung and removes it.
- The surgeon may remove some nearby lymph nodes. These may help show how advanced cancer might be.
- The surgeon will close the ribs, muscles, and skin. A dressing will be applied over the incision.
- Most of the time, a chest tube will remain in the pleural space from where the lung was removed. This can later be removed when the condition improves.
What are the risks of pneumonectomy?
Many people who have a pneumonectomy do very well. But it is fairly high-risk surgery. Some possible complications are:
- Respiratory failure
- A blood clot in the lung (pulmonary embolism)
- Infection in the lungs (pneumonia, emphysema)
- Complications from anesthesia (headache, drowsiness, and nausea)
- Abnormal heart rhythms
- Reduced blood flow to the heart
- Pain at the site of operation
- Cardiac tamponade (collection of large amounts of fluid around the heart, hampering its beating)
- If the patient has emphysema or chronic bronchitis (common diseases among smokers), they might experience shortness of breath during certain activities.
- Herniation of the heart
- Bronchopleural fistula (an abnormal connection between lung and its covering)
What is the recovery time after pneumonectomy?
Patients may get easily tired after the surgery. But will slowly start to recover strength. It may take several weeks to a month before they recover completely. If the surgeon separates the ribs to get to the lung, the area near the incision will hurt for some time after surgery. Overall physical activities may be limited for one to two months.
Health Solutions From Our Sponsors
Top How Long Does a Pneumonectomy Take? Related Articles
Interstitial Lung Disease (Interstitial Pneumonia)Interstitial lung disease refers to a variety of diseased that thicken the tissue between the lungs' air sacks. Symptoms of interstitial lung disease include shortness of breath, cough, and vascular problems, and their treatment depends on the underlying cause of the tissue thickening. Causes include viruses, bacteria, tobacco smoke, environmental factors, cancer, and heart or kidney failure.
Lung CancerLung cancer kills more men and women than any other form of cancer. Eight out of 10 lung cancers are due to tobacco smoke. Lung cancers are classified as either small-cell or non-small-cell lung cancers.
Lung Cancer Myths/FactsLearn about lung cancer myths and facts. Explore how cigar smoke, menthol, and pollution can increase your risk of lung cancer and learn what to avoid.
Know Your Lung Cancer Facts QuizLung cancer is the number one cause of cancer deaths in both men and women in the U.S. and worldwide. Get the facts about lung cancer with this quiz.
Lung AnatomyThe lungs are primarily responsible for the exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide between the air we breathe and the blood. Eliminating carbon dioxide from the blood is important, because as it builds up in the blood, headaches, drowsiness, coma, and eventually death may occur. The air we breathe in (inhalation) is warmed, humidified, and cleaned by the nose and the lungs.
Lungs PictureThe lungs are a pair of spongy, air-filled organs located on either side of the chest (thorax). See a picture of the Lungs and learn more about the health topic.
Small Cell Lung Cancer vs. Non-Small Cell Lung CancerNon-small cell lung cancers (NSCLC) consist of large cell carcinomas, adenocarcinomas, and squamous cell carcinomas. Small cell lung cancer (SCLC) usually starts in the bronchi and typically appears in those who smoke. SCLC and NSCLC are staged in different manners, and SCLC tends to metastasize more quickly than NSCLC. Signs and symptoms of NSCLC and SCLC include shortness of breath, coughing up blood, recurring lung infections, and chest pain. Treatment may involve radiation therapy, chemotherapy, and surgery.
Pleural Effusion (Fluid in the Pleural Space)Pleural effusion is a buildup of fluid in the chest or on the lungs. There are two types of pleural effusion, transudate and exudate. Causes of transudate pleural effusion include congestive heart failure, kidney failure, and cirrhosis. Exudate pleural effusion can be caused by malignancy (cancer) or lung infection. Typically, transudate pleural effusion is more easily treatable. Symptoms of pleural effusion include chest pain, pain when breathing, difficulty breathing, and cough. Treatment depends on the source or cause of the pleural effusion.
Collapsed Lung (Pneumothorax)A pneumothorax is free air in the chest outside the lung, that causes the lung to collapse (collapsed lung). There are two types of pneumothorax, spontaneous or primary pneumothorax and secondary pneumothorax. Symptoms include sudden chest pain, shortness of breath, rapid heart rate, rapid breathing, cough, and fatigue.
Smoker's Lung: Pathology Photo EssaySmoker's lung photo essay is a collection of pictures and microscopic slides of lung disease caused by cigarette smoking. Smoker's lung refers to the diseases and structural abnormalities in the lung caused by cigarette smoking.
Surprising Causes of Lung DamageCarpets, fireworks, and hot tubs are some of the unexpected things that can hurt your lungs. Find out what you can do to prevent problems from these and other culprits.
What Are the Strategies for Tube Thoracostomy Management?Tube thoracostomy, also known as open chest drainage, is a surgical procedure to drain the collection of pleural (lung sack) fluid, air, blood, or pus from the pleural cavity through a tube inserted in your chest.
Unasyn (ampicillin and sulbactam)Unasyn is indicated for the treatment of infections due to susceptible strains of the designated microorganisms in conditions such as skin and skin structure infections, intra-abdominal infections, and gynecological infections.
Xenleta (lefamulin)Xenleta is a semi-synthetic antibacterial agent for oral and intravenous administration. Xenleta is indicated for the treatment of adults with community-acquired bacterial pneumonia (CABP) caused by susceptible microorganisms, including Streptococcus pneumoniae, Staphylococcus aureus (methicillin-susceptible isolates), Haemophilus influenzae, Legionella pneumophila, Mycoplasma pneumoniae, and Chlamydophila pneumoniae.