Lung resection is an invasive procedure to remove certain portion of the diseased lung. Lung resection is usually recommended for malignant tumor, detected in the initial stage. Human lungs have three anatomical lobes on the right side and two lobes on the left side. Lung resection involves removal of either of the lobes (lobectomy). Before performing lung resection, surgeons always consider whether the patient will have enough healthy lung tissue remaining after surgery. Else, the patient will face difficulty in breathing and swallowing.
What are the Different types of Lung Resection?
Three types of Lung Resection are:
Segmentectomy or Wedge Resection: In this surgery, a smaller area on the lobe is removed. In most cases, it removes benign or malignant tissues along with adjacent infected tissues. This type of lung resection is adopted during initial stage of lung cancer. It is performed exclusively for cancerous lung tissues scattered in different parts of the lungs.
Lobectomy: It is a procedure in which a single lobe of either lung is removed. This operation is mostly performed when the cancer cells lines have spread considerably. The main aim of this particular surgery is to quarantine cancerous cells and prevent further recurrence. Nowadays, video assisted or VATS lobectomy is gaining popularity. Affected tissues are removed through a small incision made in the chest.
Pneumonectomy: In this surgical procedure, the entire lung is removed. It is performed when the tumor has engulfed most areas. However, with proper medication, restricted diet plan, and limited lifestyle, people can easily sustain with single lung and enjoy a long life.
When is Lung Resection Recommended?
This surgery is recommended for the following cases:
Infectious abscesses or pus pocket of the lung
Congenital lobar emphysema (hyperinflation of the pulmonary lobes)
Benign or malignant tumors of the lung
Dilated bronchi or bronchiectasis
Lung disease such as emphysema, tuberculosis, or atelectasis
How is Lung Resection Performed?
Lung resection uses general anesthesia. Patient is put to sleep with intravenous medication. A small cut is operated on the chest. In many cases, ribs are removed to gain better access to the affected part of the lung. Blood vessels and lymph nodes surrounding malignant or benign tissues are tied off, and cut. Later, the diseased tumor or area is confiscated. After removal of the affected region, the muscles are reconstructed. In many cases, a chest tube is inserted to drain out fluid, blood, and air from the chest wall and lungs. The incision is sealed with sutures. This surgery can last upto 12 hours.
What are the Risks Associated with Lung Resection?
Prolonged air leak is considered a major risk. Others complication include infection, internal bleeding, pneumonia, low blood volume, heart attack, and stroke. At times, lung resection can become fatal. These risks get multiplied if the patient has undergone pre-operative treatments like radiation or chemotherapy.
What are the Deep Breathing Exercises necessary after Lung Resection Surgery?
Post surgery, a patient is advised to cough and continue deep breathing. These exercises help expand the lungs and prevent further infection or collapse. Some of the deep breathing techniques are described below:
Fill your lungs slowly by the count of 5. Hold the air to the count of five. Similarly, slowly exhale to the count of five. Perform this exercise for 10 times every alternate hour.
In two small breaths, fill up your entire lungs until they are full. Exhale slowly while coughing. Remember to place a towel or pillow over the incision site. This will prevent from getting hurt. Repeat this exercise for 10 times.
You can perform this breathing technique by using incentive spirometry. Secure the spirometer in two hands. Put your mouth tightly over the mouth piece. Inhale slowly to the count of five while watching upward movement of the disc. Hold the breath to the count of five and then slowly exhale by loosening your mouth’s grip to the count of five. Repeat this breathing technique as and when you feel comfortable.