Surgical resection, also called resection surgery, is a procedure that removes part or all of an organ or tissue to prevent spread, replace an organ in the event of damage, or diagnose. Depending on the tissue or organ being removed, the surgery can be open or performed with a scope through a small incision or organic opening. For instance, a lung resection may be performed in the case of lung cancer. The surgeon may also remove a surrounding amount of healthy tissue, known as "surgical margin," to increase surgical success. A "negative surgical margin" means no cancer was detected in the surrounding area, which is associated with a lower chance of the tumor's regrowth. The effectiveness of tumor resection surgery depends on the type and stage of cancer. For instance, for early-stage non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) complete surgical resection is considered the most effective; however, up to 70% of patients suffer a relapse. Recent studies indicate that partial resection may be just as effective as complete resection. For cancer that has spread, surgery, customarily, does not yield a cure; but, it may help people live longer. Chemotherapy or a combination of therapies--including those listed in the "Treatments" section--may be work more effectively.

Benefits of Surgical Resection
  • Prevention of cancer spread
  • Prevention of complications
  • Improved quality of life
  • Improved survival rates
  • Improved neurological status and health
  • Improved response to other treatments 
  • Increased likelihood of preserved appearance and function
Risks of Surgical Resection and Forms of Cancer Surgery
  • Pain
  • Infection
  • Loss of organ function
  • Fatigue
  • Bleeding
  • Blood clots
  • Altered bowel and bladder function

Other Techniques for Cancer Surgery
  1. Cryosurgery: Use of cold material, like liquid nitrogen spray or a cold probe, to freeze and ultimately destroy cancer cells.
  2. Electrosurgery: Electric current is employed in killing cancer cells.
  3. Laser surgery: Use of beams of light to shrink or eliminate cancer cells.
  4. Mohs surgery: Removal of cancer layer by layer. As each thin layer is removed, it is analyzed under a microscope, to detect signs of cancer. The process is repeated until all cancer is removed. Mohs surgery is performed for cancers on sensitive areas of the skin, such as around the eye.
  5. Laparoscopic surgery: A minimally invasive surgery using several small cuts in the body rather than one large cut. A tiny camera and surgical tools are inserted through the openings, and a monitor displays what the camera sees. The surgeon uses this view to guide tools to remove the cancer. The smaller incisions translate into a faster recovery time and fewer complications post-surgery.
  6. Robotic surgery: The surgeon sits away from the operating table, watching a 3D image of the area on which the robot is operating. The surgeon uses hand controls that indicate to the robot how to move surgical tools to successfully perform the operation. Robotic surgery is ideal when an operation must be performed on a hard-to-reach area. Recovery can be faster and post-surgery complications can be reduced with robotic surgery.
  7. Natural orifice surgery: This is a means of operating on organs in the abdominal area without penetrating the skin. Instead, surgical tools are transported, by surgeons, through a body opening such as the mouth, rectum, or vagina. Natural orifice surgery may reduce the risk of infection, pain, and other post-surgery issues.

Works Consulted

Fan, L., Yang, H., Han, K., Zhao, Y., Gao, W., Schmid, R.A., Yao, F., & Zhao, H. (2021). Surgical resection of primary tumors provides survival benefits for lung cancer patients with unexpected pleural dissemination. Frontiers in Surgery, 2021(8), 679564. doi: 10.3389/fsurg.2021.679565

Mayo Clinic. (2022). Cancer surgery: Physically removing cancer.

Whitlock, J. (2024). Reasons for a resection surgery. https://
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