During my training as a junior surgeon, I was very moved when I met a teenage patient who had her entire lung removed because of a cancer in her main airway. I knew at that time that techniques I had seen and learnt during my training in heart and lung transplantation in Cambridge that airways and major blood vessels can be successfully reconstructed.
Since I qualified as a Thoracic Surgeon, nothing more could hold me back as I cherished the delight in the ability to undertake increasingly complex airway and blood vessel reconstructions in order to preserve lung tissue.
The most common cancer that occurs in the airway of young patients are carcinoid tumours which are generally slow growing cancers, and it is often technically possible to take the entire airways apart, remove the cancer and reconstruct the airways back together again without the loss of any lung tissue. My techniques have been published as examples in thoracic surgery journals and every time I successfully reconstruct an airway it really makes me think back to what could have been the result if these techniques were applied to the teenager who lost her entire lung.
Blood vessel reconstructions
Occasionally, cancers in the lung can be very central and in contact with the main (pulmonary) artery that supplies blood to the entire lung. Some patients are no considered for surgery at this point and others have their entire lung removed. In some cases, it may be possible to remove a section of lung (e.g. the upper lobe) with part of the main artery and for the artery to be reconstructed. If successful, this results in the loss of part rather than all of the lung.
Do contact me for an opinion whether you would be a suitable candidate for reconstructive surgery.