Wedge resection is a surgical operation conducted to remove a wedge or triangle-shaped piece of tissue from your lungs. This surgical procedure is done to treat early-stage lung cancer. Your doctor will suggest a wedge resection when you are suffering from non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). Sometimes your doctor might also suggest a wedge resection to diagnose whether you have lung cancer or some other lung illness.
Robotic/Thoracoscopic wedge resection
How is Wedge Resection Performed?
A wedge resection can be performed in two ways:
Open Thoracotomy: In this procedure, a fifteen to twenty-centimetre cut is made between your ribs to surgically remove the affected lung tissue. It is an open chest surgery.
Video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery (VATS): In this procedure, a three or four-centimetre tiny cut is made to remove the affected lung tissue. This is a minimally invasive surgery.
Robotic Wedege Resection
Your doctor will decide whether to do thoracotomy or VATS depending upon the size and location of your affected lung tissue. After the procedure, your doctor will insert a tube into your chest to drain out fluids and air.
Pre-operative tests: Before the surgery, your doctor will prescribe certain tests like ECG, chest x-ray, blood tests, cardiac stress test, lung function test and nose and groin swab to check if you are eligible for the surgery. A cardiologist will check your heart, and you will be advised to refrain from smoking.
When to get admitted to the hospital: You will be advised to get admitted to the hospital one day before the surgical procedure.
Diet before the surgery: You have to fast on the day of the surgery and cannot eat or drink anything before the surgery. If you need to consume any medicines, you can discuss them with your doctor.
Wedge resection is less invasive than the other surgeries that are conducted to treat lung cancer.
You will be kept at the hospital post-surgery, depending upon your progress. Your chest tube will be kept in place for 24 to 48 hours after the surgery. A respiratory therapist will look after your breathing movements during the hospital stay. You may be given a bladder tube to measure your urine, which is removed the following day.
On the day of discharge, your surgeon will provide you with all the post-operative instructions to follow at home and will also provide a prescription of medicines to speed up recovery and ease post-operative pain.
There are minimal risk factors associated with wedge resection. But if complications occur, they include:
- Infection after the surgery
- Atelectasis involves the damage to part or whole of the lung.
- Hemothorax involves bleeding in your chest cavity.
- Air leak
- A bronchopleural fistula involves the formation of an abnormal passage between your lungs and pleura.
Recovery after wedge resection depends upon whether your doctor has conducted a open thoracotomy or Video-Assisted Thoracoscopic Surgery (VATS)/Robotic Thoracotomy. Your recovery generally takes four to six weeks post-surgery. You will feel exhausted initially; therefore, it is suggested that you take ample rest.
Your wounds from the surgery take around four weeks to heal. Your stitches are generally removed after 12 days from the date of surgery. You can shower regularly, but do not forget to pat dry your wounds. You may notice numbness, tingling and inflammation at the operation site for some days, for which you will be prescribed antibiotics.
You may be able to join work after two to four weeks post-surgery. You need to visit your oncologist two weeks post-surgery and the surgeon six weeks post-surgery.