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Chest Wall Resection Surgery Guide

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​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​In this Guide

If you’ve been scheduled for a chest wall resection operation, you probably have some questions. Our guide offers the answers you're looking for, and helps you prepare for your operation.


About the Operation

In your body, you have two lungs. The lungs are protected by your rib cage. A chest wall resection is done to remove part of a rib(s). If you have several ribs removed, you may need to have something put in to replace the ribs. This is called a reconstruction. The reconstruction may be done with a special mesh type product. Your surgeon will tell you if a reconstruction will be necessary.

You may have a mass or tumour that is growing into your ribs. This can be benign or malignant. Benign means that it is not a cancer. Malignant means that it is a cancer. Your doctor will tell you what type of mass you have.

Your surgeon will tell you where your incision will be. He or she will tell you how big it will be (8-25cm, 2.5-10 inches). You will have 1 of the following incisions:

  • A thoracotomy means the incision is on your side.
  • A sternotomy means the incision is down the middle of your chest. Your sternum (breast bone) will be opened.
  • A hemi-clamshell means the incision is under one of your breasts.
  • A clamshell means the incision is under both of your breasts right across your chest.​​​​

You will stay in the hospital from 3 to 7 days. Your discharge from the hospital depends on your recovery. You may be told during morning rounds by the team that you are well enough to go home that day. You should arrange your own ride home before coming into the hospital.​​

Read our guide to learn more about your Chest Wall Resection Surgery Guide​, or click on the topic that matters most to you.​

Stop smoking before your surgery

Learn how smoking and tobacco can affect your recovery after surgery, and how quitting can improve your health.​

Download a printable version of the full guide:
Chest Wall Resection Surgery Guide​​​
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