Lung cancer surgery may be recommended for treating both small cell and non-small cell lung cancers, although it is usually most appropriate for tumors that have not spread outside of their original locations. In many cases, a tumor is removed along with some nearby lymph nodes and healthy tissues, although each patient’s surgical plan will depend on the size and location of the tumor, as well as other individualized factors. And, although the ultimate goal of surgery is to remove as much of the tumor as possible, some cancerous cells may still remain in the body after an operation. Therefore, lung cancer surgery may be followed by additional treatments such as chemotherapy and radiation therapy.
Types of lung surgery
At Moffitt Cancer Center, we offer a number of different types of lung cancer surgery. The most common options include:
- A sleeve resection
- A segmentectomy or wedge resection
- A lobectomy
- A pneumonectomy
- Surgical resection of mediastinal masses
- Complex lung/chest wall and vertebral resections and reconstruction for superior sulcus (Pancoast) tumors
- Resection of the chest wall and sternal masses and chest wall/sternal reconstruction
- Resection of pulmonary metastases
- VATS talc pleuradesis
- Minimally invasive surgery: Video-assisted thoracic surgery (VATS) or Robotic-Assisted Lung Surgery
- Extrapleural pneumonectomy
- Pleurectomy and pleurectomy/decortication
- Surgical management of pleural and pericardial effusions (i.e., pleurodesis)
- PleurX catheter placement for pleural effusions
- Endobronchial Navigation Bronchoscopy (ENB)
- Tracheal resection
Moffitt's lung cancer surgeons
The lung cancer surgeons at Moffitt also specialize in advanced surgical innovations, such as minimally invasive procedures and robotic-assisted operations. Through the development and incorporation of these leading-edge options, lung cancers that were once considered inoperable may now be eligible for surgical removal.
Risks and side effects of lung surgery
The risks and side effects of lung cancer surgery can vary depending on several factors, such as the type of surgery being performed and the overall health of the patient. Patients should speak with their doctor regarding risks for their specific procedure, but generally, some risks of lung surgery include reactions to anesthesia, excess bleeding, infection and pneumonia. Patients who are able to undergo VATS or robotic-assisted surgery typically experience less pain and shorter recovery times than those who have open surgery.
Moffitt’s approach to lung cancer surgery
At Moffitt Cancer Center, every patient receives a highly individualized treatment plan and benefits from a number of expert opinions in one place. Every surgery for lung cancer is performed by a team of expert lung cancer surgeons, and a patient’s recovery can be enhanced through our wide variety of supportive care options. Additionally, surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy and clinical trials are all provided in a single, convenient location, so patients can access all of the latest treatment options without having to coordinate appointments at numerous clinics.
Medically Reviewed by Dr. Jacques Fontaine.