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General lAnesthesia after Lung lSurgery


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My (right) lung cancer was treated surgically -- I had my upper lobe removed and a wedge resection in the bottom lobe and the surgeon told me there was a great deal of lung scarring but he never answered the question what caused it.  However, it was determined that I needed no radiation or chemo and that the surgery got it all.

At the same time they found the lung cancer, they found breast cancer (unrelated to the lung, in my left breast), which wasn't going to be treated until after the lung surgery.  Although the breast cancer is also small, I am choosing to have a double mastectomy with diep flap reconstruction (which won't commence until after the pathology report is back on the breast cancer).  I had one plastic surgeon tell me I would die if I had a diep flap because (a) my BMI is over 30; (b) I'm a (relatively new) ex-smoker; (c) I'm missing most of my right lung.  I had a second plastic surgeon who kind of concurred.  The third plastic surgeon has no problem doing the diep flap as long as the anesthesiologist says it 's okay ... and now they're throwing a pulmunologist into the mix.

The diep flap surgery could take anywhere from six to eight hours and my question is just because I missing most of my right lung, does it pose more of a threat to future surgeries under general anesthesia?  I definitely don't want silicone implants, I don't want another kind of flap surgery but I don't want to die on the table or be stuck on a vent forever.  So I thought I'd ask.

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Hi there,

Sorry to hear you're going through so much.  I'm not a doctor BUT during my consultation with the thoracic surgeon, he told me although the pneumonectomy (the complete removal of an entire lung, ie. all 3 lobes of the right lung in my case) is the best option in my case, it wouldn't even be an option at all if I was heavy or a smoker (or 80 years old) - just as a reference point, my pneumonectomy surgery was 6+ hours.  From what I understand, BMI is a major factor in deciding the safety of general anesthesia. 

Since it sounds like you have a pulmonologist in your team, I'd ask them for their opinion as well as your medical oncologist who specializes in breast cancer.

Let us know how we can support you along the way.

Warm thoughts,


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