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What is a lobectomy?


A lobectomy, also called pulmonary lobectomy or lung lobectomy, is the surgical removal of a lobe of a lung. You have two lungs divided into sections called lobes. Your left lung has two lobes and your right lung has three lobes. Your doctor may recommend a lobectomy to treat lung cancer or a lung lesion, which is abnormal tissue. After a lobectomy, your remaining lung lobes continue to function.

A lobectomy most often refers to a lobectomy of the lung. In some cases, the term may refer to a lobectomy of other organs, such as the brain, thyroid, pancreas or liver. 

A lobectomy is a major surgery with serious risks and potential complications. You may have less invasive treatment options. Consider getting a second opinion about all of your treatment choices before having a lobectomy.

Other procedures that may be performed 

Your doctor may also remove nearby lymph nodes to examine them in the laboratory for cancer cells.

Types of lobectomy

The types of lung lobectomy include:

  • Bilobectomy is the removal of two lobes.

  • Left upper lobectomy is the removal of the upper lobe of the left lung.

  • Left lower lobectomy is the removal of the lower lobe of the left lung.

  • Right upper lobectomy is the removal of the upper lobe of the right lung.

  • Right middle lobectomy is the removal of the middle lobe of the right lung.

  • Right lower lobectomy is the removal of the lower lobe of the right lung.

  • Sleeve lobectomy is the removal of a lobe and part of the air passage into the lung (bronchus). 

Medical Reviewers: William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS Last Review Date: Sep 12, 2016

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View Sources

Medical References

  1. A Patient's Guide to Lung Surgery. University of Southern California Keck School of Medicine.
  2. Congenital cystic adenomatoid malformation. Children’s Hospital Boston.
  3. Lung Excision. MD Guidelines.
  4. VATS Lobectomy for Early Stage Lung Cancer. The Cardiothoracic Surgery Network.
  5. Video-Assisted Thoracoscopic Surgery (VATS). Cedars-Sinai
  6. Thoracoscopic lobectomy for prenatally diagnosed lung lesions.
  7. UC Irvine surgeon performs county’s first robotic lobectomy for lung cancer. UC Health.
  8. Pile, JC. Evaluating postoperative fever: A focused approach. Cleveland Clinic Journal of Medicine. 2006;73 (Suppl 1):S62.

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