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Lung Resection

  • A lung resection is a surgical procedure to remove a portion of a diseased lung.

    The treatment is used for conditions such as:

    • a lung mass or infectious lesion
    • congenital lobar emphysema
    • congenital cystic adenomatoid malformation - A benign mass of abnormal lung tissue
    • broncho-pulmonary sequestration - When portions of your child’s lung do not have a normal connection to the rest of the lung and an adequate blood supply

    Pioneering treatment

    Boston Children's Hospital was the first pediatric hospital to acquire a surgical robot. Today, surgeons use the technology for many procedures and perform more pediatric robotic surgeries on more children than any other hospital in the world.

    Robotic surgery has transformed the lung resection procedure — it significantly reduces the size of the incision our surgeons make size, as well as reduces patients’ pain, length of hospitalization, recuperation time and risk of infection.

    Contact Us

    Robotic Surgery
    Boston Children's Hospital
    300 Longwood Avenue
    Boston MA 02115 


  • How is a lung resection performed?

    Traditionally, lung resections were performed using open surgery through the chest wall, which required a large incision and lengthy recuperation.

    Advances in robotic surgery technology have now made it possible to perform these procedures using minimally invasive surgery techniques. This significantly reduces the size of the incision our surgeons make, as well as reduces patients’ pain, length of hospitalization, recuperation time and risk of infection.

    What’s robotic surgery?

    Robotic surgery is an exciting and promising area of minimally invasive surgery. Using a high-tech robot, specially trained surgeons perform complex operations through very small surgical openings. What this means for you and your child: less pain, faster recoveries, shorter hospital stays, smaller scars and wider smiles.

    In 2001, Boston Children's Hospital was the first pediatric hospital to acquire a surgical robot. Today, surgeons use the technology for many procedures and perform more pediatric robotic surgeries on more children than any other hospital in the world.

    Boston Children's specialists have even worked with engineers and medical device manufacturers to develop and refine the robotic equipment specifically for use in children, and they train surgeons from around the world on its use.

    Recently, Boston Children’s upgraded to the newest version of the robotic system.

    The new robot is much smaller (making it easier to move around, vastly reducing set-up time) and features enhanced high-definition 3D vision and two consoles so that surgeons can collaborate during a procedure.

    What are the benefits of robotic surgery for a my child’s lung resection?

    • Robotic surgery helps your child recover faster.
    • The surgical robot’s miniaturized equipment is precise and flexible, and its enhanced imaging provides sharp, clear, 3-D views of the operating site. During robotic surgery, two or three small (1/2" or less) incisions allow a camera and tiny robotic surgical instruments inside the body. Each subtle movement of the surgeon's wrists, hands, and fingers is precisely translated to the tiny surgical instruments inside your child’s body.
    • This adds up to less pain, smaller incisions and faster recovery, all things that can bring a smile to your face — and your child’s.

    What is the outlook for a child who has a lung resection?

    The long-term outlook for most children who have a lung resection is excellent. In the rare case that your child needs a lung transplant, the Lung Transplant Program at Boston Children's Hospital evaluates children who are potential candidates for transplantation, and manages the care of children who have received transplanted lungs.

  • Lung transplantation and the immune system

    As with any organ transplant, your child’s immune system will be a major concern for doctors. To make sure children like yours do not reject their new lungs, researchers at Children’s are studying ways to calm the immune system, which proves to be a delicate balancing act between rejecting the lungs and making a patient more vulnerable to infections. One study tests the effectiveness of inhaled cyclosporine, an anti-rejection drug.

    Boston Children’s also recognizes that understanding your child’s condition before transplantation can benefit your child after transplantation. Researchers are conducting several studies on cystic fibrosis, one of the most common conditions requiring a lung transplant.

    These CF studies ask:

    • why severity of CF varies among children and young adults
    • if there are undiscovered genes that cause CF
    • if there are drugs that can treat the early stages of CF
    • if saliva can provide any diagnostic clues to lung diseases such as CF

    Boston Children’s also actively recruits CF patients into a multi-center patient registry to allow efficient collection of patient data for researchers to study.

    Other areas of research look at level of physical activity level before transplantation, the effects of previous bone marrow transplantation and the effects of changes in the heart due to pulmonary hypertension. Post-transplantation quality of life is also an important research topic for doctors at Boston Children’s.

    Our basic research is aimed at three things:

    • Preventing both short- and long-term lung transplant injury
    • Developing transplant tolerance
    • Innovating therapies for long-term acceptance of transplanted lungs

    Our physicians are actively involved in research focused on the management of pulmonary disease both before and after transplant. Cystic fibrosis and immunology figure prominently in the areas under investigation.

    Other current research projects include:

    • Quality of life in pediatric lung transplantation
    • Inhaled cyclosporine: prevention and treatment of chronic rejection
    • Three chart review studies:
      • the effect of pre-transplant physical activity on post-transplant outcome
      • the effect of prior allogeneic marrow or stem cell transplantation on lung transplants
      • cardiac re-modeling in children with idiopathic pulmonary arterial hypertension post-transplant
    • A multi-center drug study evaluating inhaled cyclosporine in the prevention and treatment of chronic rejection.
    • Examining the relationship of exercise and rehabilitation to outcomes in pediatric lung transplantation
    • An innovative drug clinical trial for patients with pulmonary vein stenosis
    • Reshaping the heart in children with pulmonary arterial hypertension (that’s not caused by an underlying syndrome) after a lung transplant
    • The role of respiratory infections in lung allograft survival
    • Examining the mechanisms of rejection and possible novel therapies to improve long-term graft survival
    • Improving quality of life for pediatric lung transplant patients
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