What Is It?

A pneumonectomy is the surgical removal of a lung.

Pneumonectomy is usually done as a treatment for cancer. It can be done in one of two ways:

Traditional pneumonectomy — Only the diseased lung is removed.

  • Extrapleural pneumonectomy — The diseased lung is removed, together with:

    • A portion of the membrane covering the heart (pericardium)

    • Part of the diaphragm

    • The membrane lining the chest cavity on the same side of the chest

Pneumonectomy removes half of a person's breathing capacity. For this reason, surgeons usually choose a less extreme form of lung surgery if possible.

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