Lung Surgery for Cancer

Surgical Resection

Lung surgery for cancer includes the removal of the tumor, lymph nodes and sections of the lung that contain the tumor. It is the treatment of choice in several types and stages of lung cancer, either alone, or in combination with chemotherapy or radiation therapy. It is also used to remove cancerous tumors that have spread to the lungs from other parts of the body. The surgeon will recommend one of several approaches for removal of the tumor.

Surgical Approach

  • Thoracoscopy(VATS-Video Assisted Thoracic Surgery) This is a minimally invasive technique. Three small incisions are made in the patients side. A video-scope is placed through one of the incisions. This scope allows the surgeon to see the patient's lungs. A stapler and a grasper is inserted in the other incisions. The tumor is removed through a plastic bag in order to prevent the spread of cancer. The incisions are closed by sutures, which will dissolve.

    Thoracoscopy is used when the tumor is small and located on the outer
    edges of the lungs.

  • Thoracotomy – used when the tumor is not accessible with the thoracoscope. An incision is made in the patients side, between the ribs. The incision is approximately 6 to 9 inches long. The ribs are separated and one may be cut. The tumor, lymph nodes and surrounding lung are removed. The muscle and skin are closed with sutures and staples.
  • Modified approach – sometimes conventional approaches need to be modified in order for the tumor , lymph nodes and affected lung to be adequately removed. The surgeon will describe the specific approach to be used for the patient.


No matter which approach is used, the surgeon will remove the tumor and send it to pathology for analysis. The pathologist will inspect the tissue for cancer cells. The final pathology report will be sent to the surgeon notifying him of the diagnosis.


Surgical Associates of Palm Beach County / Boca Care (SAPBC) is a multi-specialty surgical group practice with expertise in General, Breast, Vascular, Endovascular, Thoracic, Colon Rectal, and Surgical Oncology. Our office is located in Boca Raton Florida.

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Surgical Associates of Palm Beach County / Boca Care | 670 Glades Rd, Ste 300 Boca Raton, FL 33431 | Phone: 561-395-2626

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