The extirpation of an entire lung may be performed either for neoplastic disease or for inflammatory processes. Although in each instance the entire lung is removed, the technique of removal varies. When a lung is removed for neoplastic disease, it is necessary to perform a much more radical procedure in that an en bloc excision of the mediastinal lymph nodes is also included, whereas in a pneumonectomy for inflammatory disease it is generally not necessary to remove the mediastinal nodes.
A pneumonectomy is an anatomic procedure generally, because, unless there is considerable involvement of the mediastinum, the dissection, which is done entirely within the mediastinum, is performed at some distance from the disease process. Unfortunately, however, the disease process, whether it is neoplastic or inflammatory, frequently extends to involve the mediastinum, and in such instances mediastinal dissection is much more difficult.
As previously emphasized, in cases in which it is