Lobectomy

Lobectomy is the removal of a lobe of the lung. It is the gold standard operation used to treat lung cancer. Traditionally, a thoracotomy was used to accomplish this, but the incision was large, painful, led to postsurgical complications such as pneumonia, and patients had prolonged hospital stays (7-10 days) and prolonged recovery times (several months). Now, lobectomies are performed minimally invasively through a video-assisted or robotic-assisted approach. The advantages include smaller incision, no rib removal or spreading, less pain, less pneumonia, shorter hospital stay (4 days versus 9 days in open lobectomy), and earlier return to normal activity and work. Also, the minimally invasive technique allows surgery in higher risk and elderly patients who would otherwise not be candidates for traditional open surgery.