A lung lobectomy is a surgical procedure in which a doctor removes a damaged lobe from a lung, notes WebMD. Humans have three lobes in their right lung and two lobes in their left lung. With the damaged lobe removed, the lungs should still function adequately.
In order to perform a lobectomy, the surgeon creates an incision over the affected lobe that starts at the front of the chest and curves around the side and to the back, according to Johns Hopkins Medicine. This incision exposes the ribs near the damaged lobe. The surgeon then removes the lobe by accessing the lung from between the ribs.
Some patients may qualify for a lobectomy using video-assisted thoracic surgery, notes Johns Hopkins Medicine. For this type of lobectomy, the surgeon makes three to four small incisions into the chest cavity. The surgeon inserts a thoracoscope, which is a medical instrument fitted with a camera that transmits video onto a larger screen, into one of the incisions to see into the chest cavity. The surgeon then uses specialized surgical instruments inserted into the other incisions to conduct the operation and remove the damaged lung lobe.
Surgeons use lobectomies to treat lung cancer, tumors, tuberculosis and lung abscesses, explains Johns Hopkins Medicine. In some cases, this surgery is also a valid treatment for fungal infections and emphysema.