Lung Surgery (Thoracotamy)
The procedure of lung surgery or Thoracotamy is used to remove cancerous parts of the lung or to treat lung cancer. It can be performed through three main procedures depending on the severity of a patient’s case. These procedures are Lobectomy, Wedge Resection, or Pneumonectomy. As the procedure involves incisions in the side of the chests between the ribs, the process will be painful and the pain could last from several weeks up to months after the surgery. It is usually effective for early-stage non-small cell lung cancer.
Risk of lung surgery may include bleeding, infection, air leakage of the lung, damage to heart, lungs, blood vessels or nerves in the chest. Thoracotomy is done for many reasons including the removal of cancer, treating pneumothorax or hemothorax where the lung tissues have collapsed. It could also be used for to remove infected lung tissue, to remove blood clots or tumors, or inflate a collapsed lung tissue.
Reasons for a Thoracotomy
Thoracotomy is done for many reasons including the removal of cancer, treating pneumothorax or hemothorax where the lung tissues have collapsed, atelectasis, to remove infected lung tissue, to remove blood clots or tumors, or inflate a collapsed lung tissue.
Procedure of Thoracotamy (Lung Surgery)
There are various procedures under Thoracotomy and basically it is an open lung surgery where incisions are made on the sides of your chest and rib cages separated to expose the lungs to remove parts of it that is affected. It is a painful procedure and after it is done, one or more tubes are placed to drain out fluid and air for a short term as the rib cage is repaired and muscles and skins are stapled or closed with sutures.
Lobectomy is a process to remove one or more lobe of the lungs done to get rid of lung cancer. As there are three lobes each in both the left and right lung, Lobectomy only gets rid of the infected lobes so the lungs can still work on the remaining lobes.
Wedge Resection or segmentectomy is when part of a lobe in the lung is removed in a small wedge shape that contains the lung cancer while also removing some portion of the healthy tissue around it and although this decreases the lung function less than lobotomy, the chances of the cancer recurring is also higher.
Pneumonectomy is when all the infected parts of lungs are actually removed and is only done when necessary. In this, after the lungs are removed, a chest tube is implanted to drain fluid and blood out of the chest cavity and help the lungs to breath again. The two types of pneumonectomy are simple pneumonectomy where the affected lung is removed while extrapleural pneumonectomy (EPP) is the removal of the affected lung along with the diaphragm, the chest lining, the heart lining and then replaced by Gore-Tex, a waterproof breathable fabric.
Lung Transplant is as when the lungs from a donor, usually a brain dead candidate on live support, is taken and implanted into a patient’s body. Lung donors can also be living but two or more candidates are usually needed for one operation because only a section or lobe of the lungs can be taken and also the donor tissue must match with the patient’s lung tissue type to be able to accept the transplant.
Requirements for Lung Transplant Donors
Lung transplant donors can be living donors but there are also requirements they have to pass to be considered acceptable lung donors. Some of the main factors that determines a fit candidate for lung donation is that the donor must be in perfect health condition, be of a valid age, have a compatible blood type and size match of lungs to the patient, which means the lungs must be big enough to oxygenate the patient’s body but not be too big to fit into the patient’s chest cavity.
Candidates for Lung Transplant
People who are considered to be candidates for lung transplant must have conditions concerning the lung which severely impacts their ability to engage in daily life activities and have a low chance of survival rate without the operation. These are the candidate with when other alternatives such as surgical therapy or non-surgical treatments have no effect on.
The candidates deemed suitable for lung transplant must be between the ages of 16 to 65, have no acute disease or illness, no other significant organ dysfunction such as kidney, liver, or heart disease. They have to be cancer free for at least two years and abstain from doing drugs, alcohol, or smoking for at least up to six month before the operation. They must have no significant mental problems, no be infected with any untreatable microorganisms or have HIV. Their body weight has to be within the range of 70% or less than 150% of the ideal average body weight. They also have to pass a six-minute walk test and engage in a pulmonary rehabilitation program. They must also be able to financially pay for the treatments and expenses to follow.
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