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 - Northwestern Memorial Hospital - Chicago

Lung Diseases

Academic medical centers like Northwestern Memorial Hospital have brought advancements and improvements to the treatment of lung disease through basic science research. Researchers have sought to explore the molecular genetics of lung cancer and identified key proteins that are present in lung cancer. Treatments continue to be developed by basic researchers in the fight for cures for lung disease.

Northwestern Memorial’s Thoracic Surgery Program brings considerable clinical expertise to treatment of lung diseases, both benign and malignant.


The Thoracic Surgery Program puts a great emphasis on minimally invasive surgical techniques, which reduces time of patient stay and offers a speedier recovery from lung surgery.

Innovative surgical procedures like video-assisted thoracic surgery (VATS) and robotic surgery let the surgeons of the Program treat lung disease with precision and minimal physical trauma to the patient.

The Thoracic Surgery Program also works very closely with Northwestern’s Thoracic Oncology Program to coordinate care that involves expert physicians in pulmonary medicine, thoracic surgery, medical oncology, radiation oncology, as well as pathologists, anesthesiologists and nurses who are all specially trained for oncology care.

Lung Surgery

It may be necessary for your thoracic surgeon to perform lung surgery to help treat lung disease, particularly lung cancer. Your doctor will discuss the surgical procedures with you in detail. Some of the most common surgeries include:

  • Lobectomy—removal of one lobe of the lung

  • Wedge resection—removal of a small, wedge-shaped portion of diseased lung tissue. This is often done if removal of an entire lobe would be too much for a patient

  • Segmentectomy—removal of a larger portion of the lung than a wedge resection

  • Pneumonectomy—removal of an entire lung

  • Blebectomy—also known as a bullectomy, this is the removal of a nonfunctional part of your lung as treatment for pneumothorax (collapsed lung); the removal of a bleb (or bullae), which is something like a bubble in your lung, or a cyst, will help your lung function better

  • Pleurodesis—this is the artificial elimination of the pleural space between pleural layers, causing them to adhere to one another. It is done to help prevent the recurrence of pneumothorax, or pleural effusion (fluid buildup between the pleural layers)

Why Choose Northwestern Memorial?

The Thoracic Surgery Program at Northwestern Memorial Hospital offers the latest surgical procedures for benign and malignant diseases of the chest, including the tracheobronchial tree (airways), lungs, pleura, esophagus, diaphragm, chest wall and mediastinum.

Last UpdateJanuary 24, 2012