Lung Surgery

The North West Centre for Lung Surgery is a leading regional centre for adult lung and chest surgery and cover patients from all over the Manchester and Cheshire region, serving a population of 3.2 million.
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Our surgeons provide live-saving surgery to treat lung cancers and other lung conditions such as collapsed lungs.

The thoracic (chest and lung) surgery service at MFT covers a population of 3.2 million people and we perform around 1,400 surgical procedures every year. The largest proportion of work is lung surgery for both malignancy (cancer) and benign conditions (non-cancerous).

We are consistently one of the hospitals in the UK treating the largest number of patients with lung cancer. Every year, around 460 patients with lung cancer undergo removal of tumours at MFT – among the highest number in the UK. The Lead for Lung Surgery is Mr Eustace Fontaine.

Lung surgery

Surgery is often carried out to get a closer look at the inside the lungs to help diagnose conditions effecting the lung and decide the best treatment for patients. If a scan has detected a mass in the lung, surgery can be used to help determine its cause and to perform a biopsy (sample) on the mass to see if it is cancerous. If needed, further surgery can be carried out to remove the mass. Read more about lung cancer treatment here and about the Manchester Thoracic Oncology Centre at MFT – a specialist centre focused on the early detection, screening, rapid investigation and radical treatment of lung cancer, mesothelioma and other cancers involving the chest.

Surgery can also be carried out to treat conditions other than cancer such as fluid around the lung, collapsed lungs and infection.

Pre-op Clinics and Outpatient Clinics

Our surgeons also run outpatient clinics at the North West Heart Centre at MFT and at local hospitals. Before you have an operation or surgical procedure , you will need to attend the pre-op clinic, which runs from Monday to Friday between 9am and 4pm, and you will be sent an appointment time. If this date or time is not convenient, please contact us and we will try to accommodate you. You will often be able to have your pre op tests done on the day of your clinic appointment.

The reason for the pre-op appointment is to ensure that all the necessary tests and investigations are done ready for your operation. It is also a time for us to answer any questions you may have about coming into hospital and about your operation. The appointment usually takes about three hours as you will need to have an x-ray an ECG (heart tracing) and some blood tests as well as being seen by the pre op nurse.

Tests and Treatment you may be required to have further tests before a decision to operate can be made these can include a scan of your heart, breathing tests, exercise tests or further scans.


We perform a variety of lung and chest operations including surgery to remove lungs and parts of lungs, biopsies to diagnose conditions, and operations to prevent collapsed lungs.


The most common operation for lung cancer and around 400 of these operations are performed each year for primary lung cancer – cancer which started in the lung. This involves removing an entire lobe of the lung. Cancers spread to lymph nodes and nodes in the chest are also removed to ensure an accurate stage of the cancer is confirmed and to identify patients who may benefit from chemotherapy after surgery.

Sublobar Resections

Segmentectomy and Wedge Resections – if a tumour is small or there is a need to preserve lung tissue because of impaired lung function, the surgeon may choose to remove one or more lung segments with the lymph nodes, which is called a segmentectomy. A wedge resection involves removing part of the lung in a wedge shape.


Removal of an entire lung. The most common reason to perform a pneumonectomy is to treat lung cancer but the number of these operations is small compared to lobectomy.

Video-assisted Thoracoscopic Surgery (VATS)

VATS or keyhole surgery is performed with the aid of a small video camera introduced into the chest. The resulting scars are smaller and allow patients to recover more quickly after surgery and begin chemotherapy sooner if required.


The removal of metastases – tumours from elsewhere in the body – most commonly through sublobar resections or sometimes lobectomy.

Lung Biopsy

A small portion of lung is removed usually through VATS to obtain a diagnosis of certain lung conditions.

Pneumothorax Surgery

A pneumothorax is a collection of gas or air around the lung which causes the lung to collapse. Initial treatment usually involves using a chest drain to allow the lung to re-expand. Pneumothorax surgery is sometimes necessary if placement of the drain is insufficient. This surgery is usually done by VATS (keyhole surgery) to remove weak areas of the lung.

Surgery for Emphysema

Severe emphysema may cause hyperinflation (overexpansion) of the lungs which interferes with breathing. The upper areas of the lung are removed through keyhole surgery (VATS) and specially designed valves introduced in the airway of the upper parts of the lung.

Other Thoracic Surgery Procedures

We also perform a range of other specialist thoracic surgery procedures including airway management, thymectomy, mediastinoscopy/ mediastionotomy, VATS pleural biopsy, decortications, chest wall surgery and rib fixation.


We also carry out a diverse range of leading lung surgery research. Find out more within the Cardiovascular Research Hub section.


Department of Lung Surgery

Phone: 0161 291 2199


The Surgical Unit is located at the North West Heart Centre at Wythenshawe Hospital in the Yellow Zone near Entrance 7, off Floats Road or Entrance 8 off Southmoor Road.