Appearance of the cut surface of a pneumonectomy specimen containing a lung cancer, here a Squamous cell carcinoma (the whitish tumor near the bronchi).
ICD-9-CM 32.5
MeSH D011013

A pneumonectomy (or pneumectomy) is a surgical procedure to remove a lung. Removal of just one lobe of the lung is specifically referred to as a lobectomy, and that of a segment of the lung as a wedge resection (or segmentectomy).



The most common reason for a pneumonectomy is to remove tumourous tissue arising from lung cancer. In the days prior to the use of antibiotics in tuberculosis treatment, tuberculosis was sometimes treated surgically by pneumonectomy.

The operation will reduce the respiratory capacity of the patient; before conducting a pneumonectomy, the surgeon will evaluate the ability of the patient to function after the lung tissue is removed. After the operation, patients are often given an incentive spirometer to help exercise their remaining lung and to improve breathing function.

A rib or two is sometimes removed to allow the surgeon better access to the lung.


There are two types of pneumonectomy:

  1. Simple pneumonectomy: removal of just the affected lung
  2. Extrapleural pneumonectomy (EPP): removal of the affected lung, plus part of the diaphragm, the parietal pleura (lining of the chest) and the pericardium (lining of the heart) on that side.[1] The linings are replaced by Gore-Tex in this radical and painful surgery that is used primarily for treatment of malignant mesothelioma. This technique produces the best long-term survival rates for this serious and fatal disease.[2]


Pioneering dates

  • 1895: first pneumonectomy in multiple stages by William Macewen on a patient with tuberculosis and emphysema
  • 1931: first successful pneumonectomy in two stages by Rudolph Nissen on a patient with crush injury to the thorax
  • 1932: first lobectomy, by Harold Brunn
  • 1933: first successful single-stage total pneumonectomy by Graham and Singer[3]
  • 1939: first segmentectomy, by Churchill and Belsey


  1. ^
  2. ^
  3. ^ Horn, L; Johnson DH (July 2008). "Evarts A. Graham and the first pneumonectomy for lung cancer". Journal of Clinical Oncology 26 (19): 3268–3275. doi:10.1200/JCO.2008.16.8260. PMID 18591561. 

External links

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • pneumonectomy — [no͞o΄mə nek′tə mē, nyo͞o΄mə nek′tə mē] n. pl. pneumonectomies PNEUMECTOMY …   English World dictionary

  • pneumonectomy — n. (pl. ies) Surgery the surgical removal of a lung or part of a lung. * * * pneumonalgia, pneumonectomy see pneumono …   Useful english dictionary

  • pneumonectomy — noun (plural mies) Etymology: Greek pneumōn + International Scientific Vocabulary ectomy Date: 1890 excision of an entire lung or of one or more lobes of a lung …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • pneumonectomy — /nooh meuh nek teuh mee, nyooh /, n., pl. pneumonectomies. Surg. excision of part or all of a lung. Also, pneumectomy. [1885 90; PNEUMON + ECTOMY] * * * …   Universalium

  • pneumonectomy — noun The surgical removal of all or part of a lung …   Wiktionary

  • pneumonectomy — Removal of an entire lung. SYN: pulmonectomy. [G. pneumon, lung, + ektome, excision] * * * pneu·mo·nec·to·my .n(y)ü mə nek tə mē n, pl mies surgical excision of an entire lung or of one or more lobes of a lung called also …   Medical dictionary

  • pneumonectomy — n. surgical removal of the lungs …   English contemporary dictionary

  • pneumonectomy — [ˌnju:mə(ʊ) nɛktəmi] noun (plural pneumonectomies) surgical removal of a lung or part of a lung …   English new terms dictionary

  • pneumonectomy — pneu·mo·nec·to·my …   English syllables

  • pneumonectomy — n. surgical removal of a lung, usually for cancer …   The new mediacal dictionary

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