Lung Surgery Care
Lung Surgery Details
Alternate Names for Lung Surgery:
Your doctor may perform:
- Physical exam
- Blood and urine tests
- X-ray , CT scan , or MRI scan of the chest
- Pulmonary function tests to see how well your lungs work
- Heart function tests
Leading up to surgery:
Talk to your doctor about your medicines. You may be asked to stop taking some medicines up to one week before the procedure, like:
- Aspirin or other anti-inflammatory drugs
- Blood thinners, such as clopidogrel (Plavix) or warfarin (Coumadin)
- You may be asked to use an enema to clear your guts.
- Do not eat or drink anything after midnight.
- To minimize complications, stop smoking at least 2-3 weeks before surgery.
General anesthesia will be given. You will be asleep during the surgery.Description of Procedure
You will be placed on your side with your arm elevated. An incision will be made between two ribs, from front to back. The chest wall will then be opened. In some cases, the doctor may take a different approach. The doctor can then do whatever procedure needs to be done in the open chest. Once the procedure is done, one or more chest tubes will be placed. The tubes will make sure that blood or air does not collect in the chest. The chest wall will be closed. The incision is closed with stitches or staples and bandaged to prevent infection.
You will be sent to the intensive care unit for recovery. Your will be monitored closely.How Long Will It Take?
3-4 hoursHow Much Will It Hurt?
Anesthesia prevents pain during the procedure. You may have some discomfort after the surgery. Your doctor will give you medicine to help you manage the pain.
For some, a thoracotomy can lead to a chronic pain syndrome. It is usually described as burning pain in the area of surgery. It may be associated with increased sensitivity to touch in this area. It usually diminishes over time, but you may need to see a pain specialist if the pain persists.Average Hospital Stay
The usual length of stay is 5-10 days. Your doctor may choose to keep you longer if complications arise.Post-procedure Care At the Hospital
- You will have IV lines and tubes in and around your body. Most of these will be removed as you recover. Some will help you urinate, breath, and get nutrition.
- You may be given antibiotics, pain medicine, or antinausea drugs.
- Do coughing and deep breathing exercises. Do them often to help keep your lungs clear.
- Get out of bed often and sit in a chair. Increase your activity as much as you are able.
When you return home, do the following to help ensure a smooth recovery:
- Stay well-hydrated. Drink plenty of fluids.
- Do not smoke.
- Avoid environments that expose you to germs, smoke, or chemical irritants.
- Be sure to follow your doctor's instructions .
Learn what the procedure is. Find out how it is performed.
Find out why and when this procedure should be done.
Learn about possible complications and what might increase the risk of them.
What to Expect
Find out how long it will take, what they will be doing and what to expect afterwards.
What are the next steps and other possible tests needed after you have received the results.
Call Your Doctor
What to look out for and when to call your doctor after a procedure has been done.