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A thoracotomy is a relatively large incision along the ribcage and back of the patient allowing exposure of the lung. Instruments will be inserted between the ribs after a rib spreading retractor is placed in the wound. This affords the surgeon ample exposure to remove the affected segment of lung tissue and any potentially involved lymph nodes at the time of surgery. The nature and extent of the malignancy will determine the amount of tissue that needs to be removed and any potential associated procedures that may be necessary. Average length of stay for this surgery is 5-7 days.

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