Lung Cancer Surgery

Surgical Options for Lung Cancer

Scripps have expertise in a number of thoracic surgery procedures. When possible, minimally invasive methods are used, including robot-assisted surgery, and video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery (VATS).

The care team works closely with the patient to determine the appropriate treatment course, given the patient’s health profile, type of lung cancer, and expectations for treatment.

Minimally-invasive robotic surgery

For some patients, robot-assisted surgery may be an option. In minimally-invasive robot-assisted surgery, a specially trained surgeon sits at a console near the patient, guiding the robotics technology.

The surgeons who participate in the Scripps Minimally Invasive Robotic Surgery Program have completed specialized training in robot-assisted surgical procedures.

VATS: Video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery

VATS is a minimally-invasive procedure used for lung tumor removal, and biopsies of the lung and chest wall.

Conventional thoracic surgery involves a long incision between the ribs, while VATS requires several small “ports,” or incisions. The surgeon inserts a small video camera (thoracoscope) and surgical instruments through these ports, which extend into the patient’s body in a safer, less invasive manner.

Due to the small incision size, patients benefit from quicker recovery time, decreased pain and less chance of infection.

VATS can be used for both biopsy and treatment procedures.

Surgical procedures for lung cancer

Common surgical procedures for the treatment of lung cancer include:

  • Lobectomy
    Removal of 1 of 2 or 3 sections of the lung
  • Pneumectomy
    Removal of entire lung
  • Wedge resection
    Removal of cancerous section without removing the lobe, when appropriate