"My father’s difficult lung surgery was a success."
The aim of lung volume reduction surgery is to decrease the size of an over-inflated lung in order to allow the other, which is often more healthy and functional, to expand. During this intervention, approximately 25% of an affected lung is removed. The distressing symptoms the patient experienced prior to surgery, such as shortness of breath, are significantly improved. Nevertheless, before you are recommended lung volume reduction surgery, you will be required to undergo a series of diagnostic tests and procedures, which will help us accurately assess the severity and complexity of your condition. The most frequently used tests to determine whether you are eligible for this procedure include:
After you are deemed a suitable candidate for lung volume reduction surgery, we will choose the date of the intervention and you will also receive all the information you need regarding how to properly prepare for the procedure. On the day of your surgery, you will first be put under general anesthesia. If you undergo the traditional, open-chest procedure, a larger incision will be made in your chest bone to gain access to the lungs, while the minimally invasive surgical approach entails 3 to 5 small incisions in the same region through which the thoracoscope (a thin, flexible tube with a fiber optic camera attached) and the required medical instruments will be introduced. One or both of your lungs can be attended to during lung volume reduction surgery, depending on how severely damaged the organs are.
It is important to remember that not all patients suffering from emphysema can qualify for the minimally invasive approach. Extremely complex cases are more efficiently treated by undergoing traditional surgery (sternotomy). After the removal of damaged pulmonary tissue, your incision will be securely closed with stitches and a sterile dressing will be placed over your wound to prevent infections until it heals completely.
Lung volume reduction surgery can effectively treat emphysema, a chronic obstructive pulmonary disease accompanied by severe dyspnea (shortness of breath). In order to ensure a satisfactory outcome of the intervention and avoid serious complications, only patients who meet the following criteria will be considered suitable candidates:
More specifically, the groups of patients who tend to benefit the most from lung volume reduction surgery are:
Following surgery, you will be moved to the intensive care unit in the hospital, where medical professionals will regularly check your vital signs. Lung volume reduction surgery typically requires you to spend 5 to 10 days hospitalized until partial recovery is achieved. During this time span, you will be given pain relievers to alleviate your postoperative discomfort and antibiotics, which will prevent infection. You will also be intubated over the course of your hospital stay. Some of the following tubes will be attached to your body:
You will experience full recovery within 3 to 4 months, depending on the severity of your initial condition, as well as on the type of surgery you underwent (traditional or minimally invasive). It is essential you attend pulmonary rehabilitation regularly after 4-6 weeks. The aim of this program is to restore the proper functioning of your lungs and it is crucial for recovery.
Additionally, you can speed up your recovery to a great extent by taking into account the following suggestions, which you will also receive from your physician: