(Lung Surgery; Surgery, Lung)
Reasons for Procedure
- Confirm diagnosis of a lung or chest disease
- Repair the heart or the vessels of the lung and heart
- Treat windpipe disorders
- Remove a portion of the lung or the entire lung
- Reinflate lung tissue that has collapsed due to disease or trauma
- Remove pus from the chest
- Remove blood clots from the chest
- Remove tumors or lymph nodes
- Collapsed lung
- Damage to the organs in the chest
- Reaction to anesthesia
- Collection of air or gases in the chest
- Persistent pain—rare
What to Expect
Prior to Procedure
- 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
- Use an enema to clear your digestive tract
- Not eat or drink anything after midnight
- Stop smoking at least 2-3 weeks before surgery to reduce the risk of complications
Description of Procedure
|Incision and Drainage Tubes|
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Immediately After Procedure
How Long Will It Take?
How Much Will It Hurt?
Average Hospital Stay
- You will have IV lines and tubes in and around your body. Some of the lines and tubes will help you urinate, breath, and get nutrition. Most of the lines and tubes will be removed as you heal.
- You may be given antibiotics, pain medication, or anti-nausea drugs.
- You may need to cough and do deep breathing exercises to keep your lungs clear. This may require the use of an incentive spirometer.
- Get out of bed often and sit in a chair. Slowly increase your activity as tolerated.
- Washing their hands
- Wearing gloves or masks
- Keeping your incisions covered
- Washing your hands often and reminding your healthcare providers to do the same
- Reminding your healthcare providers to wear gloves or masks
- Not allowing others to touch your incision
Call Your Doctor
- Difficulty breathing or cough
- New pain in the chest or persistent and severe pain in the area of surgery
- Stitches or staples that come apart
- Excessive bleeding at the site of the incision
- Coughing up mucus that is yellow, green, or bloody
- Signs of infection, including fever and chills
- Redness, swelling, increasing pain, excessive bleeding, or discharge at the incision site
- Severe nausea or vomiting
American Thoracic Society http://patients.thoracic.org
The Society of Thoracic Surgeons http://www.sts.org
Canadian Society for Vascular Surgery http://canadianvascular.ca
The Lung Association http://www.lung.ca
Athanassiadi K, Kakaris S, et al. Muscle-sparing versus posterolateral thoracotomy: a prospective study. Eur J Cardiothorac Surg. 2007;31:496-500.
Levy MH, Chwistek M, et al. Management of chronic pain in cancer survivors. Cancer J. 2008;14(6):401-409.
Ohbuchi T, Morikawa T, et al. Lobectomy: video-assisted thoracic surgery versus posterolateral thoracotomy. Jpn J Thorac Cardiovasc Surg. 1998;46(6):519-522.
Video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery (VATS). University of Southern California, Cardiothoracic Surgery website. Available at: http://www.cts.usc.edu/videoassistedthoracoscopicsurgery.html. Accessed May 22, 2013.
Wildgaard K, Ravn J, et al.Chronic post-thoracotomy pain: A critical review of pathogenic mechanisms and strategies for prevention. Eur J Cardiothorac Surg. 2009;36(1):170-180.
- Reviewer: Michael Woods, MD
- Review Date: 02/2015 -
- Update Date: 03/18/2013 -