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After Surgery

After Surgery

December 14, 2021
Emily Cassidy, MD
Emily Cassidy, MD

Cardiothoracic Surgery

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Transcript

What you can expect after surgery is to typically have one or two chest tubes, which are drainage tubes that reside inside of the chest on the outside of the lung. They typically come out between the ribs and attach to a box that sits on the floor in the hospital room. Despite having that drain and that box, the best thing you can do to recover from lung surgery is to get up and walk. The more we walk, the bigger breaths we take, the more we fill our lungs with air. When a piece of lung has been removed, our goal as surgeons is to get that remaining lung as big and full of air as possible. It’ll prevent pneumonia. It prevents things like atelectasis, which is pieces of lung that aren’t getting enough air flow, and it prevents any fluid from accumulating. So that’s vital, to be up moving around as much as possible. When patients are not up and moving around, they should be using an incentive spirometer, which is a small, plastic, it looks like a toy, although it’s quite difficult, that reminds you to take big, deep breaths. So that’s vital for your recovery. Most patients can be in the hospital, I would say, anywhere from two to six days after a lobectomy procedure. You can expect to have some discomfort at your incision site. And the other thing that people by and large complain of is feeling tired. Even with small incisions, lung surgery is a big surgery and you shouldn’t be surprised if you feel kind of worn out specifically for those first few weeks after surgery.