Page Title: What is Pneumonectomy: Overview, Benefits, and Expected Results

Definition & Overview

Pneumonectomy is a major surgical procedure that involves the removal of the entire lung in cases of lung cancer, lung tumor, benign lung diseases, or major damage to the main air passage or lung blood vessels due to trauma or injury.

There are two techniques used for lung removal and both involve opening the chest area. In a standard pneumonectomy, the surgeon removes either the entire right or left lung, depending on the location of the malignancy or injury. The other technique is more extensive and is called extrapleural pneumonectomy. It involves the removal of an entire lung, along with a part of the diaphragm, a part of the pericardium, and the membrane that lines the chest cavity.

Who Should Undergo & Expected Results

Pneumonectomy is often recommended as the last resort for those diagnosed with lung cancer, particularly those whose condition no longer responds to other types of therapy. It is also considered a viable option if the cancer has spread to more than one lobe of the lung.

Lung removal is also advised for the treatment of malignant mesothelioma, which is the cancer of the pleura or the membrane lining the lungs and the chest cavity. However, the physician would have to consider the location and size of the tumour before even suggesting this surgical procedure as it comes with several risks and possible complications. Pneumonectomy is recommended if the patient is deemed strong enough to undergo the surgery, if the benefits outweigh the risks, and if the tumour has not spread extensively to nearby tissues.

Patients suffering from chronic lung infections or congenital lung disease as well as those suffering from extensive injury to the lung that leads to bronchial obstruction can also be considered for lung removal.

In some rare cases, pneumonectomy is also used to treat tuberculosis.

Following surgery, the patient remains in intensive care, attached to a ventilator to assist in breathing. After several weeks, the patient can be advised to go home and to avoid strenuous activities in the next few months.

Pneumonectomy has good survival rate, more so for those who have their left lung removed compared to those whose right lung is surgically removed. Most patients report shortness of breath following surgery and this symptom may persist for several months, as the remaining lung would need to take over the loss of its counterpart.

How Does the Procedure Work?

The procedure for lung removal starts with the patient being anesthetized and intubated to breathe through a ventilator. The surgeon makes an incision in the chest area and exposes the rib cage. The ribs are then spread apart to access the lungs. The affected lung is collapsed and the surgeon will cut blood supply by tying off the major blood vessels. The bronchus, a major airway leading to the affected lung, is also cut and tied off. The lung is then removed and the surgeon closes the incision using sutures. A drain is left between two membranes surrounding the remaining lung but will be removed later on.

Possible Complications and Risks

During surgery, there is an inherent risk of bleeding if there is an injury to the artery or any nearby blood vessel. Patients could also have an adverse reactions to anaesthesia used.

Following pneumonectomy, a bacterial infection could possibly set in. Medical personnel should also need to look out for possible bronchopleural fistula, which is an abnormal connection between the bronchus and the space between lung membranes.

Another possible complication is the accumulation of fluid or pus in the lung, which could be considered an emergency.

Most patients who undergo pneumonectomy experience respiratory insufficiency, manifested in symptoms such as hypoxia fever, tachycardia, or tachypnea. Additionally, some patients exhibit altered mental status. To address this, they are supplied with oxygen even after they have been discharged.

In patients who have histories of heart conditions, there is a risk of stroke or cardiac arrhythmias. Blood clots could also develop and cause deep vein thrombosis or pulmonary embolism.

The space left by the removed lung could be filled by other organs in the chest and cause a condition called postpneumonectomy syndrome.

Some patients report persistent pain in the chest area that does not go away even after surgery. In some cases, kidney problems or even renal failure could also occur.


  • Putnam JB Jr. Lung, chest wall, pleura, and mediastinum. In: Townsend CM Jr., Beauchamp RD, Evers BM, Mattox KL, eds. Sabiston Textbook of Surgery. 19th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Saunders Elsevier; 2012:chap 58.

  • Tsiouris A, Horst HM, Paone G, Hodari A, Eichenhorn M, Rubinfeld I. Preoperative risk stratification for thoracic surgery using the American College of Surgeons National Surgical Quality Improvement Program data set: Functional status predicts morbidity and mortality. J Surg Res. 2012: epub ahead of print.

  • Wiener-Kronish JP, Shepherd KE, Bapoje SR, Albert RK. Preoperative evaluation. In: Mason RJ, Broaddus C, Martin T, et al, eds. Murray and Nadel’s Textbook of Respiratory Medicine. 5th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Saunders Elsevier;2010:chap 26.


Page Title: What is ‌Pneumonectomy: Overview,⁢ Benefits, and Expected Results

Meta Title: Get a comprehensive understanding of ⁢Pneumonectomy: Overview, Benefits, and Expected Results

Meta Description: Are‌ you curious about⁢ pneumonectomy? Discover what it is, the benefits it offers, and what you can expect from this surgical procedure. ⁣Read on to learn everything you‍ need to know.


Pneumonectomy is a surgical procedure that involves the removal of one lung, either partially⁣ or‌ completely. This procedure is typically performed as a ​treatment option for various lung diseases, including lung cancer, severe infections, trauma, or other lung ⁣conditions that cannot be effectively ‍managed⁤ through alternative treatments. In this‌ article, we⁣ will provide a detailed overview of pneumonectomy, its benefits, and ⁣the⁣ expected results.

Table of Contents:

1. What is Pneumonectomy?

2. Types‌ of Pneumonectomy

3.‍ Benefits of Pneumonectomy

4. ⁤Expected Results after Pneumonectomy

5.‌ Conclusion

1. ⁣What is Pneumonectomy?

Pneumonectomy is a surgical intervention in which either the right or left lung is removed, depending on the specific⁣ condition being treated. The surgery⁣ may involve the⁣ removal of the ⁢entire lung⁣ (total pneumonectomy) or only a portion of‌ it (partial pneumonectomy).

During the ⁣procedure, a surgical team will carefully remove the lung while making ‍sure that the‌ surrounding tissues ⁤and blood vessels remain intact. The goal is to eliminate the ‌diseased lung while preserving ​the functionality of the remaining ​lung and the‌ overall ⁣respiratory system.

2.⁢ Types of Pneumonectomy

There are two primary types of ‍pneumonectomy: total pneumonectomy and ‍partial pneumonectomy. The choice of procedure depends on the specific condition and the ‌recommendations of the ⁢medical team.

a. Total Pneumonectomy:

A total pneumonectomy involves the complete removal of either the right‍ or left‍ lung. This procedure is⁤ typically ⁢reserved for cases where the‍ lung disease is widespread and cannot‍ be effectively treated with‌ other surgical interventions or treatments.

b. Partial ‍Pneumonectomy:

In a partial⁣ pneumonectomy, ‍only a ⁣section of the lung is removed, leaving a functional portion intact. This procedure is usually performed‍ when the disease⁤ is localized to​ a specific‌ area of the ​lung, allowing for the preservation of‌ lung function.

3. Benefits of Pneumonectomy

Pneumonectomy offers several⁢ benefits ‍for patients with severe‍ lung conditions. Here are the key advantages:

a. Complete Removal of Diseased‍ Lung:

Pneumonectomy provides a‍ definitive solution for patients with extensive lung⁢ diseases, such as advanced lung cancer.⁤ By removing‌ the entire lung ⁢affected by the disease,‍ pneumonectomy⁢ can eradicate tumors,‍ infections, or⁣ other ‌conditions, improving the patient’s chances of recovery.

b. Potential​ for⁣ Greater Quality of ⁢Life:

While the removal of a lung‍ may ​seem daunting, pneumonectomy can⁤ often‍ lead to an‍ enhanced quality‌ of life for patients. By eliminating a diseased or non-functioning lung, the patient’s remaining lung⁣ can compensate and function more efficiently, providing improved respiratory capacity⁣ and overall well-being.

c.‍ Increased Survival Rates:

In ⁤cases of advanced lung cancer⁢ or other life-threatening conditions, pneumonectomy can ⁤significantly improve survival rates. ‍By removing⁣ the tumor or⁣ the infected lung, ⁣pneumonectomy can eradicate the source of the ⁤disease, increasing the ​chances ⁣of long-term survival and‍ recovery.

d. Resolution of Severe Symptoms:

Patients with severe lung diseases often‍ suffer⁣ from chronic symptoms such as difficulty breathing, persistent ⁤coughing, or chest pain. Pneumonectomy can alleviate these symptoms by removing the diseased lung, allowing patients to breathe more⁤ easily and ⁣improving their overall ⁤comfort.

4. Expected Results after Pneumonectomy

Following the⁢ pneumonectomy ‌procedure, ⁢patients can expect several outcomes and changes in their health. ⁢It is vital to⁣ note that individual experiences may vary,‍ and⁢ these expected​ results are general⁤ guidelines:

a. Recovery ⁣Period:

Pneumonectomy⁢ is a⁣ major surgical ⁢procedure, and patients ​should anticipate a significant recovery period. Generally, it takes⁣ several weeks to months for patients to ​recover fully, and during this time, they may experience pain, weakness, and ‌the need for close​ monitoring by⁣ medical professionals.

b. Improved Breathing Capacity:

Despite​ the removal of one lung,⁢ patients often experience an ​improvement in their breathing capacity after pneumonectomy. The ‌remaining ⁣lung compensates‌ for the lost lung by expanding and supplying adequate oxygen to the body,​ enabling patients to perform routine activities with relative ease.

c. ⁤Rehabilitation and ​Physical Therapy:

To aid ⁤in the recovery process and optimize​ lung function,⁢ patients may undergo rehabilitation and physical therapy. These programs aim to strengthen the respiratory muscles,⁣ improve overall⁤ fitness, and‍ assist in adjusting to the changes in lung capacity post-pneumonectomy.

d. Lifestyle Adjustments:

After ‍pneumonectomy, some⁢ patients may need to make certain lifestyle⁣ adjustments. These may include quitting smoking, avoiding exposure ‌to‍ respiratory irritants and pollutants, adopting a ⁣healthy diet, and maintaining​ regular exercise to ‌support respiratory health.

e. Long-term Monitoring:

Due to the significant changes in lung function and⁣ potential long-term ‍effects, patients who have‍ undergone pneumonectomy require regular monitoring by‍ their healthcare team. ⁤This monitoring includes follow-up appointments, periodic ⁢imaging scans, and other tests ⁢to ensure proper recovery and detect any potential complications.


Pneumonectomy is a surgical ⁣procedure that involves the removal of one lung. It may be performed as a‌ treatment option for various lung diseases, ‍including lung ⁢cancer and severe infections. The benefits of pneumonectomy include⁣ complete removal of the diseased​ lung, potential‍ for an improved quality⁣ of ‌life, increased survival rates, and resolution of severe symptoms. Expected ⁢results after pneumonectomy​ include a ⁤recovery period, improved‍ breathing​ capacity, rehabilitation and ​physical‍ therapy, lifestyle adjustments, and long-term monitoring.

In conclusion, ‍pneumonectomy is a complex yet valuable‌ procedure that‌ can provide favorable ‍outcomes for patients with ‌severe lung diseases. ⁢If you ​or a loved ⁤one require pneumonectomy, consult with a healthcare professional to assess⁣ your ‌specific situation and determine the best course⁣ of treatment.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *