Lung Surgery

Thoracic (chest) surgeons at the University of Wisconsin Carbone Cancer Center, the state's only comprehensive cancer center, have specialized training and expertise in lung cancer surgery. Their training allows them to perform innovative procedures that are often not available at all centers.


Minimally-invasive Surgeries

Lung Surgery Procedures

  • A wedge resection or segmentectomy is a surgical procedure that removes a small part of the lung. 
  • A lobectomy is a surgical procedure that removes one lobe or section of the lung. The left lung has 2 lobes and the right lung has three lobes. 
  • A pneumonectomy is a surgical procedure that removes the whole lung.

More Minimally-invasive Surgeries

  • Segmentectomy is a lung sparing procedure that removes a segment of the lung, which is smaller than a lobe, but larger than a wedge. This procedure is usually followed with intraoperative radiation therapy, if there is a high risk of the cancer coming back to the same area. A concentrated dose of radiation can be delivered precisely to that area and nearby normal tissues can be spared. In some circumstances, additional radiation may be given after the surgery.
  • Sleeve lobectomy is a procedure used to save the lung, primarily when the location of the tumor involves a major airway. The cancerous portion of the airway is removed and then the remaining edges of the airway are reconnected.
  • Vertical muscle sparing incision is a procedure that spares the major muscles by moving them out of the way of the incision and may offer better postoperative results in regards to pain, range of shoulder motion, and lung function.
  • Muscle-sparing mini-thoracotomy is a procedure that may minimize patients' pain and recovery time after surgery. In this procedure, the muscles are moved aside and not divided, however, the ribs are spread to allow removal of larger or more complex tumors that may involve the ribs or other structures.
  • Metastatectomy may be used if a cancer from another area has metastasized to the lungs. With this procedure, it may be possible to remove the lesion in the lung.  Whether this is possible and the extent of the procedure to remove the lesion depends upon the size and location of the lesion.
  • Chest wall tumor resection can be done if the cancer has invaded the surrounding tissue or the muscles and bones in front of the lungs. If needed, the surgeon can do a chest wall reconstruction using regional muscle and/or mesh to assist in repair of the area.