Postoperative complications after thoracic surgery for lung cancer

Jessica A. Rotman, Andrew J. Plodkowski, Sara A. Hayes, Patricia M. de Groot, Jo Anne O. Shepard, Reginald F. Munden, Michelle S. Ginsberg

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States. Several surgical techniques are currently used as part of the standard of care for early-stage lung cancer. Differentiating normal postoperative changes from complications is essential in the management of these patients. This article will review the various surgical approaches used, ranging from wedge resection to pneumonectomy, and will outline their expected postsurgical changes. Early and late postsurgical complications will be described, some of which are unique to the type of surgery performed. In addition, local tumor recurrence is a form of postoperative complication and must be distinguished from typical postoperative or postradiation change. Knowledge of both common and uncommon postoperative complications is crucial in the follow-up of lung cancer patients. Summary Statement: Familiarity with the appearance of postoperative complications in lung cancer patients is vital to distinguish it from the normal postoperative or postradiation appearance in follow-up imaging.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)735-749
Number of pages15
JournalClinical Imaging
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 1 2015


  • CT
  • Chest
  • Lung cancer
  • Surgery

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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