Facts About Lung Mass
A lung mass usually means a tumor in the lung, The tumor can either be benign or malignant, which is to say cancerous. There are other types of lungs masses, including some which may be the result of an injury, such as scar tissue surrounding a lesion, or a lung abscess. Whatever the type, a lung mass always needs to be looked into, if only to ensure it is not malignant or potentially so. A lung mass may or may not need to be removed. If it is small, and benign, and not having a detrimental effect on the functioning of the lung, a lung mass may not be taken out, but would certainly be checked into, and monitored at a later date. If a lung mass is determined to be harmless and is left intact, it is usually only because removal usually involves removal of lung tissue. Leaving the mass intact may in some cases seem to be the better choice.
Lung Mass Removal Procedures - Even if a lung mass has been left in the lung, a biopsy will usually be done and the removed tissue examined to ensure the mass or tumor is not malignant. Usually when a mass does need to be removed, a part of the lung needs to be removed as well. Removal of a part of the lung is called a resection. Removal of smaller lung masses or benign tumors will often involve a wedge resection, which is removal of a small portion of a lobe in one lung. If the mass is large, or there appears to be a malignancy, a larger portion of a lobe may be taken out. This is called a segment resection. In more extreme cases, an entire lung may need to be removed, called a lobectomy, and if both lungs required removal, the procedure is called a pneumonectomy.
In general, the causes of a benign tumor are unknown. When the cause of a medical condition is unknown, the cure is usually also unknown. In the case of a tumor, benign or malignant, the "cure" is usually removal. There are different types of tumors however, and consequently a lung mass is usually categorized by type, location, and any other notable characteristics.
Less-Invasive Surgery Becoming Commonplace - Fortunately, for most people who have a lung mass, less invasive surgical procedures are now common practice. It is seldom necessary for a patient to have to endure a large incision for the purpose of dealing with what might be a rather small lung mass. Even localized wedge resections can be accomplished through minimally invasive techniques. Besides faster healing time, a patient undergoing a wedge resection to remove a lung mass will have a much shorter hospital stay than what almost always used to be the case. In instances where surgery presents a big risk to the patient, an elderly patient for example, it is sometimes possible to remove a lung mass by means of an endoscopic resection done by laser technology.
Still A Possibility Of Complications - Given the changes from invasive to less-invasive surgery, although the former is still quite often necessary, post-operative complications have shown a decrease, although such complications always remain a possibility. Even when a lung mass is shown to be benign, a patient will usually be monitored for some time to guard against an onset of pneumonia, or the somewhat rare possibility of a malignancy forming. Special care and monitoring is always advisable in the cases of a lung mass and its removal, as once malignancy occurs in the lung, it can spread rapidly and metastasize to the lymphatic system and other organs.