What is pulmonary lobectomy? Surgery Ruth Bader Ginsburg underwent

Alex Wong/Getty Images

What is a pulmonary lobectomy? Surgery Ruth Bader Ginsburg underwent

Alex Wong/Getty Images
U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. File photo. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was treated for lung cancer, undergoing a pulmonary lobectomy Friday to remove two malignant growths on her left lung, court officials said.

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Doctors determined after her surgery there was “no evidence of any remaining disease,” court officials said.

Just what is a pulmonary lobectomy? 

The lungs have sections called lobes. There are three lobes on the right and two on the left. A lobectomy is a surgery to remove one or more of those lobes, according to Johns Hopkins Medicine

It is a common treatment option for lung cancer, especially if the growth is contained to one part of the lung, according to Moffitt Cancer Center.

The surgical procedure can be done by opening the chest cavity or by using the less-invasive video-assisted method.

>> Read Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg undergoes surgery

The lobes are removed to prevent further spread of disease, typically tuberculosis or certain types of lung cancer. 

“After the procedure, many patients find that their lungs work just as well or better than they did before,” according to Moffitt Cancer Center.

When Ginsburg was hospitalized after breaking her ribs in November, doctors at George Washington University Hospital discovered a pair of nodules in the lower lobe of her left lung. 

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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