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) and robotic surgery. The decision to perform VATS or robotic surgery is complicated and should be made by a physician with extensive experience in minimally invasive thoracic surgery.