Lung surgery involves entering the chest wall to get to the lungs. This can be done by a thoracoscopy or a thoracotomy. In a thoracoscopy, the surgeon uses several small incisions. A thin tube containing a camera is put in one incision. The surgeon can look at the lungs using a monitor. In a thoracotomy, larger incisions are made into the chest. This opening lets the surgeon see the lungs directly.

Lung surgery can be done for the following reasons:
     Masses and nodules - these are lumps of abnormal tissue. They can be benign (cancerous) or malignant (cancerous). When a nodule  or mass is found in the lung, a biopsy (tissue sample) is taken of it to determine if it is cancerous or not.
     Infections - These can be caused by bacteria, viruses, or fungi. Examples include tuberculosis and pneumonia. 
     Diseases including emphysema 
     Areas of the lung that have collapsed (pneumothorax)
     Injuries to the lung


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Lung Surgery


Thoracentesis is used to drain abnormal buildup of fluid in the pleural space. Because the pleural space does not normally hold much fluid, extra fluid can make breathing difficult. For the procedure, a needle is put through the skin of the chest into the pleural space. Once inside the space, fluid is drained. The fluid that is removed is tested for cancer, infections, and other problems.

The above information is presented for general information only. You should consult your physician personally to discuss your specific needs and how any of the above information may apply to you. Drs. Brown and Keith, and Midwestern Cardiac Surgery are not responsible for any misinterpretation or misapplication of the above information.

Mediastinoscopy allows the doctor to see inside the mediastinum. Large lymph node samples can be taken.

Video assisted thoracic surgery (VATS) allows the doctor to see inside the chest and take tissue samples (biopsy).

Surgery done through larger incisions to remove bigger portions of the lung.