A lobectomy is a surgery to remove one of the lobes of the lungs. The lungs have sections called lobes. The right lung has 3 lobes. The left lung has 2 lobes. A lobectomy may be done when a problem is found in just part of a lung. The affected lobe is removed, and the remaining healthy lung tissue can work as normal.

A lobectomy is most often done during a surgery called a thoracotomy. During this type of surgery, the chest is opened.

In most cases, during a lobectomy the cut (incision) is made at the level of the affected lobe. The cut is most often made on the front of the chest under the nipple and wraps around the back under the shoulder blade. The surgeon gets access to the chest cavity through the exposed ribs to remove the lobe.

In some cases, a video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery (VATS) is used to do a lobectomy. This is a less-invasive procedure. With this type of surgery, 3 or 4 small cuts are used instead of 1 large cut. Tiny tools are put into the chest cavity. One of the tools is called a thoracoscope. It’s a tube with a light and a tiny camera that sends images to a computer screen. This shows the internal organs on the screen. The small tools are used through the other cuts to do the surgery.