About the Lungs

Lung Surgery in 3D The primary function of the lungs is to re-oxygenate blood after it has traveled through the body.  The lungs also function to get rid of carbon dioxide that is produced as the body creates energy.  The lungs are separated into lobes, with 3 lobes on the right side and 2 lobes on the left.  Eighty percent of the lung volume is air, 10% of the lung volume is blood, and approximately 10% of the lung volume is solid tissue.

Surgery of the Lungs

Lung surgery may be necessary in patients with a collapsed lung, fluid in the lung space, and lung cancer.  If a physician finds symptoms or x-ray signs that are concerning for lung cancer, a lung biopsy may be needed to determine if cancer cells are present.  A "biopsy" is a procedure where a sample of lung tissue is obtained to determine if there is cancer present.  Positive biopsies typically require "staging" to determine how far the cancer has spread.  This information is then used to guide treatment for the cancer and determine the patient's prognosis.  If there is cancer present in one area area (localized) and has not spread, it may be possible to perform a lung resection operation to remove the cancer.

There are multiple types of lung cancer surgery, including pneumectomy (removal of one lung), lobectomy (removal of one of the lobes of the lung), and wedge resection (removal of a portion of the lung).  Minimally invasive surgical techniques may be used to complete lung surgery, including video assisted thoracoscopic surgery (VATS).  VATS uses small incisions, where an endoscope (instrument with a fiber-optic camera at the end) and small instruments are used to complete the surgery.  VATS is beneficial due to a decreased duration of hospital stay and less pain when compared to traditional surgical techniques.  Although there are benefits of VATS, not all patients are candidates for minimally invasive heart surgery.  The decision to perform VATS is complicated and should be made by a physician with extensive experience in thoracoscopic surgery.

Surgery of the Thoracic Cavity

Our lung surgeons are highly skilled in other procedures involving the thoracic cavity.  These include removal of masses from the mediastinum (a structure around the heart) and chest wall.  Our surgeons also perform endoscopic thoracic sympathectomy surgery for patients who suffer from excessive sweating (a condition known as hyperhidrosis).  In this procedure, the sympathetic nervous chain is cut in the thoracic cavity, and provides immediate reduction in sweating in the majority of patients.

If you have any questions regarding a lung surgery, please contact us to set up a consultation with one of our lung surgeons.

Saturday
Dec192009

Endoscopic Thoracic Sympathectomy

Hyperhidrosis is the medical term used to describe excessive sweating. Hyperhidrosis can be effectively treated with surgery, a procedure known as Endoscopic Thoracic Sympathectomy (ETS). ETS has been shown to reduce increased sweating in the majority of patients who receive the procedure.

Click to read more ...

Saturday
Dec192009

Lung Biopsy

A lung biopsy is usually performed when a physician notices clinical symptoms or findings on a chest x-ray that are suspicious for lung cancer. A "biopsy" refers to sampling of lung tissue to determine if there is cancer present. This is generally done by taking a small sample of tissue and sending it to a pathologist to look at under a microscope.

Click to read more ...

Saturday
Dec192009

Lung Cancer Surgery

Primary lung cancers are cancers that come from cells within the lung. There are many different types of primary lung cancer, which are commonly separated into "small cell" and "non-small cell" lung cancer. The decision of whether to perform lung surgery is based on both the type of cancer cell, the location of the cancer, and the extent of the lung cancer.

Click to read more ...

Saturday
Dec192009

Lung Resection

Your physician may request a lung biopsy if you have symptoms or chest x-ray findings that are concerning for cancer. If the biopsy is positive for lung cancer, a lung resection may be required as part of a treatment plan.

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
Nov282012

Robotic Lung Surgery

Robotic lung surgery refers to lung surgery completed through minnimally invasive techniques.  Dr. Colin Joyo and Dr. Daryl Pearlstein perform minimally invasive lung surgery.  Please see our section on Video Assisted Thoracoscopic Surgery for more information.

Saturday
Dec192009

Video Assisted Thorascopic Surgery

Video Assisted Thoracoscopic Surgery (VATS) is a type of minimally invasive surgery used in the treatment of lung cancer and other medical conditions. In VATS, the a lung surgeon uses small incisions in the patients' chest wall as a point of entry into the lung cavity.

Click to read more ...