There are four types of lung resection and two surgical techniques used to perform them. Your surgeon will determine the type of resection required and will choose the best technique for you.
Four types of resection
- Wedge: a small part is removed.
- Segmentectomy: one or more segments are removed. A lobe (see the lung infographic) contains 2 to 5 segments.
- Lobectomy: an entire lobe (see the lung infographic) is removed.
- Pneumonectomy: removal of an entire lung.
Resection is performed using a surgical stapler.
In order to better preserve the integrity of the lungs, preference is given to segmentectomies whenever possible. The fluorescence technique ensures very high precision in this procedure.
Thoracoscopy (VATS - video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery) is a minimally invasive technique. The surgeon makes small incisions, usually three, through which he or she inserts instruments and a camera.
This is used as a first-line technique whenever possible, and it has the following advantages:
- small scars
- reduced post-operative pain
- faster recovery of mobility
- shorter hospital stays.
Thoracotomy is when the chest is opened by a larger incision to provide direct access to the lung. The surgeon may use this technique when it is not possible to use a minimally invasive method (thoracoscopy).
At the end of the procedure, one or two chest drains are placed in the chest to drain air and fluid.