A Patient's Guide to Lung Surgery
The Thoracotomy Procedure
Once you're asleep, you're positioned comfortably on your side and covered with sterile drapes. Your surgeon then makes an incision across your side. Your rib cage is separated to expose your lungs.
The lung to be operated on is deflated, while a breathing tube helps your other lung continue working. The deflated lung can then be examined and any necessary procedure performed, including removing part or all of the lung. In some cases, nearby lymph nodes may be removed, as well.
Types of Thoracotomy Procedures
When the procedure is finished, one or more tubes are placed in the chest temporarily to drain fluid and air. Then the rib cage is repaired and the muscle and skin are closed with sutures or staples.
> Next: Thoracotomy: To Family and Friends: Waiting During Surgery