Thoracic Surgery Vancouver at VGH

Video assisted thorascopic surgery (VATS) is a type of minimally invasive chest surgery where the surgeon enters the chest cavity through two or three holes between the ribs. Through these holes, the surgeon passes telescope type instruments. A camera is used to see and instruments are used to remove the diseased part of your lung, or to remove masses in the center of your chest called the mediastinum.

A thoracotomy is an incision (3 to 8 inches long) into the chest cavity, usually to remove a small segment of lung, a lobe of the lung, or an entire lung.

Sternotomy is an incision through your breast bone (sternum) to remove masses in the center of your chest called the mediastinum.

You have a right lung and a left lung. The right lung is made up of three lobes and the left lung is made up of two lobes. Each lobe is made of smaller segments.

The following is a list defining the various surgeries:

  • A lobectomy is when a lobe(s) of a lung is removed. After this surgery, the remaining lung tissue expands to fill the space that was occupied by the diseased lung tissue.

  • A wedge resection is when a small pie-shaped piece of a lobe is removed. The post-operative care after a wedge resection is the same as for a lobectomy.

  • A segmentectomy is when an anatomical segment of a lobe is removed.

  • A bullectomy is surgical removal of a bulla, a thin-walled blister or air filled cavity in the lung.

  • A thymectomy is surgical removal of the thymus gland in the center of your chest called the mediastinum.

  • A decortication is surgical removal of the pleural layers of the chest cavity.

  • A pneumonectomy is the removal of an entire lung. If you have a pneumonectomy, the space that was occupied by the lung fills up with fluid and over time with fibrous tissue.

Examining an X-Ray

Chest Surgery

For more details on what to expect before and after chest surgery at VGH click below:

Before & After Your Esophagectomy


What is an Esophagectomy, and Why is it done?

All the information below can also be found in the VCH booklet: Before and After Esophagectomy Patient and Family Guide.

You are about to have an operation to remove your esophagus or "food pipe". This information has been put together to let you know what to expect before and after esophagectomy at VGH. This is meant as a guide only. Throughout your hospital stay, you will receive care from a team of health care professionals including:

  • Your thoracic surgeon

  • Thoracic clinical associates

  • Registered Nurses and Thoracic nurse practioners

  • Thoracic surgery fellows

  • Physiotherapists

  • Social Workers

  • Dieticians

  • Respiratory Therapists

  • Occupational Therapists

All members of the health care team are available to answer your questions about your recovery.

What is an Esophagectomy, and Why is it done?

An esophagectomy is the surgical removal of the diseased part of the esophagus, or "food pipe". After the esophagus is removed, the stomach (or in certain situations part of the colon – large bowel) is attached to the remaining part of the esophagus (either in the chest or the neck). This reconnects your digestive system so that you will be able to eat again. There are many different kinds of esophagectomy, and every kind is possible to be done at VGH depending on your treatment need.

A mini-laparotomy is an incision (5cm to 8cm long) on your upper abdomen where the surgeon prepares your stomach to reconnect to the remaining esophagus in your neck.

More on esophagectomy

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