When should a bullectomy be performed?

Is it best before a collapsed lung occurs? Is there a size that is considered to be the cut off? My husband has a 5cm x 12cm in the upper right lobe and we were wondering if it is typically recommended to be removed and criteria.


Community Answers
  • kking5112 author
    2 years ago

    Thank you! We just met his Pulmonologist the other day. We are not too sure about him as of now. My husband is in pain off and on, no blood, but 3 infections in 6 months as well as a lot of coughing daily. He told us nothing much except we wait for it to cause a collapsed lung before removal because otherwise it is a elective surgery. We were just wondering about others experience because this sounded odd to us. My husband works with 1000’s of volts of electricity at a time and if he was to have a issue he could possibly cause a loss of life so he is worried.

  • Lyn Harper, RRT moderator
    2 years ago

    Hi kking5112 –

    I’m sorry for your husband, I hope he’s coping with it in the meantime without too many adverse side effects.

    There are indications/criteria that a physician will use before performing surgery. There are also contraindications that would hinder them from performing it. As far as the criteria, while there are some general ones, each physician will make the decision based on their individual patient. There are many things they have to consider and of course, each patient is different.

    For instance, they often take into consideration whether or not the patient is in pain from it. Is the person coughing up blood? There are many other symptoms they watch for as well, but those are a couple common ones.

    Hopefully you have a good relationship with your husbands Pulmonologist and can have an open conversation about the procedure and any risks and benefits that need to be considered based on your husbands particular situation.

    Here’s the link to an article that has some information I think you’ll find helpful. https://copd.net/treatment/surgery-overview/bullectomy/

    Please let us know how you make out.

    Regards,
    Lyn (moderator)

  • Leon Lebowitz, BA, RRT moderator
    2 years ago

    Hi kking5112 – I too am sorry to hear what your husband (and you) are experiencing. I see that Lyn has provided you with a link to excellent information that is related to what you both are going through.
    Based on your explanation, it sounds like the pulmonologist (who you just met) is evaluating the difference between an ‘elective’ procedure (performing the bullectomy) versus an ’emergency’ procedure by waiting for the lung to collapse. You may want to ask the doctor to provide more clarification of this so that you can better understand what is being planned.
    As well, if safety on the job is a serious concern of yours (as you expressed), you may want to get the physician’s opinion on that too.
    Please do check back with us and let us know how you’re doing.
    All the best,
    Leon (site moderator)

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