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Updated August 01, 2007

What is a lobectomy:

A lobectomy is the surgical removal of one entire lobe in the lung. The removal of two lobes is called bilobectomy.

What is a lobe?:

Lobes are sections of the lungs. The right lung has three lobes and the left lung has two lobes.

Who is candidate for lobectomy:

A lobectomy is performed in early stage non-small cell lung cancer patients. It is not performed on patients that have lung cancer that has spread to other parts other body. Tumor size, type and location are majors factors as to whether a lobectomy is performed.

How is a lobectomy performed?:

A lobectomy is performed normally during a thoractomy. An incision is made to the chest, and ribs may be removed or spread apart to allow the doctor adequate working space and to view the lung better. The main artery, veins and aur tubes are clamped and cut and the lobe is removed. A drainage tube is then inserted in the chest and the patient is then closed up. The drainage tubes drains any fluids that may build up in the chest.

What is the recovery like after a lobectomy:

Recovery varies from patient to patient, but patients who don't have post-surigical complications are usually discharged in a week. The first day after surgery is normally spent in the ICU. The drainage tubes will be removed within a fews day, or until there is no fluid to drain. A respiratory therapist will work with you in the hospital to aid in recovery.


Lung cancer surgery can carry risks. Patients who undergo a lobectomy face the risk of pneumonia, bleeding, infection, blood clots, and reaction to anesthesia and other medications.
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