Pulmonary Resection | Cardiothoracic Surgery | Loyola Medicine

Pulmonary Resection

Overview and Facts about Pulmonary Resection

Pulmonary resection is a type of thoracic surgery in which tissue from a section of the lung or the entire lung is removed. Lymph nodes and some tissue surrounding the diseased area may also be removed.

Pulmonary resection may be recommended if you have a damaged or diseased lung, or if your doctor needs tissue to test for other lung conditions.

Specific reasons you might need pulmonary resection can include:

  • Lung cancer or a tumor
  • Lung disease, such as emphysema
  • Infection, such as tuberculosis
  • An abscess in the lung

Not everyone with a lung condition is a good candidate for this kind of thoracic surgery. Your doctor will talk to you about the specific risks and health concerns you may face.

What to Expect with Pulmonary Resection

You will be given anesthesia during this thoracic surgery, which means you will be unconscious during the procedure. The procedure can take anywhere from two to six hours depending on your condition and the goals of the surgery.

You will have a breathing tube placed in your throat to help you breathe during the surgery, and then the doctor will make an incision on your side between your ribs to reach the lung.

Once the tissue that the doctor needs is removed, they will close the incision with either stitches or staples.

Pulmonary resection is a major operation, and you should expect to stay in the hospital for about three to six days following the procedure for recovery.

What are the Side Effects of Pulmonary Resection?

Side effects stemming from a pulmonary resection procedure are fairly rare. That being said, possible side effects to watch out for include:

  • Discomfort or difficult breathing; however, this can be managed by your doctor as you recover
  • Pain in the area of the incisions; however, this can usually be managed with ibuprofen or other pain medications
  • Side effects of anesthesia, such as vomiting, sore throat, headache or difficulty urinating
  • Swelling

What are the Risks of Pulmonary Resection?

The level of risk associated with pulmonary resection is relatively low, but specific risks can include:

  • An air leak in the lung or the inability of your lung to fill normally
  • Infection or bleeding
  • Injury to the lungs or the blood vessels in the lungs
  • Repeated fluid buildup in the lung