Thoracic surgery, also known as chest surgery, may be used to diagnose or repair lungs affected by cancer, trauma or pulmonary disease. For lung cancer, your surgeon may remove nodules, tumors and lymph nodes to diagnose, stage and treat the disease. A thoracotomy is surgery to open your chest. During this procedure, a surgeon makes an incision in the chest wall between your ribs, usually to operate on your lungs. Through this incision, the surgeon can remove part or all of a lung.
Thoracotomy is often done to treat lung cancer. Sometimes it’s used to treat problems with your heart or other structures in your chest, such as your diaphragm. Thoracotomy can also be used to help diagnose disease. For example, it can enable a surgeon to remove a piece of tissue for further examination. Wedge resection removes a wedge-shaped piece from the area of your lung that contains cancer and some healthy tissue around it. Segmentectomy removes one segment of a lung. Lobectomy removes the lobe of your lung that contains cancer. Pneumonectomy removes an entire lung. Extrapleural pneumonectomy removes a lung, the lining of your lungs and heart (pleura), and part of your diaphragm.

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