Lobectomy is a surgical procedure in which a pulmonary lobe is resected and removed. This surgical procedure is most commonly performed in people who are suffering from lung cancer. All the possible complications of pulmonary lobectomy may be classified into two groups, minor and major.
Minor Lobectomy Complications
Minor lobectomy complications include nausea and vomiting. These two symptoms are actually a consequence of general anesthesia and they most commonly affect all the patients who have undergone lobectomy. Infection of the incision line and minimal bruising or bleeding may additionally occur. Numbness of the skin is only temporary complication and the innervation mostly re-establishes a few months after the surgery. Abnormal scars also known as keloids can be another minor complication. And finally, a patient may develop allergy to dressings, tape or latex.
Major Lobectomy Complications
Some patients are more susceptible to complications after lobectomy. The general health primarily determines whether a person is going to develop any of the possible complications. People at risk include those suffering from serious heart conditions, kidney disorders, respiratory diseases and diabetes. Additionally, the risk of severe complications is increased in obese people, heavy smokers and those who have already undergone other surgical procedures. All in all, the most common major complications after lobectomy include continual air leak, bronchopleural fistula, arrhythmia, and injury of the nerves.
After lobectomy the remaining lobe may twist. This leads to its collapse. Even the rest of the lungs can collapse which is another life-threatening complication. And finally, a patient may develop lung failure and die. As for heart some of the patients may develop heart attack. Heart failure is also possible but it is not so common. In some patients pneumonia or infection of other organs can occur. Heavy bleeding is another complication which if not treated on time can lead to lethal outcome. Even blood clots may form in the blood vessels of the lungs. And finally, a stroke is one more potential complication after lobectomy.
The problem with patients who have to undergo lobectomy is that majority of them already suffer from some other medical conditions. This way their health is damaged to certain extent and they are actually a risk group for potential complications. They need to be monitored because only this way a complication can be recognized on time and a patient can be treated timely and adequately. Infections which occur after lobectomy can be easily dealt with antibiotics, excessive blood loss can be restored with blood transfusions and irregular heart beat can be brought under control with antiarrhythmics. All in all, there are possible complications but by acting properly most of them can be avoided and even if they occur in majority of cases they can be properly treated.