Which patients are candidates for video-assisted lobectomy?

Patients who need a variety of diagnostic and/or therapeutic procedures of the outer area of the lung may be candidates for video-assisted surgery. The best candidates for video-assisted lobectomy include patients with stage I non-small cell lung cancer (a small, primary tumor, under 3 cm, in the first stage of cancer that has not spread beyond the lungs) or patients who have a single enlarging pulmonary nodule.

Although minimally invasive approaches are considered for every patient, some patients may not be candidates for video-assisted lobectomy. Traditional thoracotomy may be more appropriate for some patients with large tumors, involved lymph nodes or prior chest surgery.

How can I be evaluated for video-assisted lobectomy?

Please call the Cleveland Clinic Thoracic Surgery appointment line at 216.445.6860 or 800.223.2273 ext. 56860 to schedule a pre-surgical evaluation with a thoracic surgeon.

When you meet with the thoracic surgeon for the pre-surgical evaluation, a physical exam will be performed. The surgeon will ask you questions about your condition and health history. The thoracic surgeon will discuss your treatment options and the benefits and potential risks of the procedure that is recommended for you. Additional tests will be ordered to make sure video-assisted lobectomy is the right treatment for you.

What are the benefits of video-assisted lobectomy?

Patients who have video-assisted lobectomy generally experience less pain and have a quicker recovery than those who have traditional thoracotomy surgery. Other possible benefits include reduced risk of infection and less bleeding.

Recent research indicated that video-assisted lobectomy can be performed with low rates of complications and reduced in-hospital recovery to approximately 3 to 4 days. Additional studies also demonstrate video-assisted lobectomy is as effective in removing stage I lung cancers as the traditional, open-chest thoracotomy.

What are the risks of video-assisted lobectomy?

There are risks of every surgical procedure. Your doctor will discuss the potential risks of the procedure with you. Possible risks of the procedure may include:

  • Risk of bleeding, requiring opening of the chest (thoracotomy)
  • A persistent air leak (greater than 7 days) from the lung
  • Subcutaneous emphysema (the presence of air or gas in subcutaneous tissues)
  • Fever

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