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WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW:
- Lung lobectomy is a type of thoracotomy surgery done to remove one or more lobes of your lung. Your lungs are two hollow organs that are covered by pleural sacs (two thin layers of tissue). Each lung is divided into lobes (sections) by deep grooves. Normally, your right lung has three lobes while your left lung has two lobes. Lung lobectomy is usually done to treat lung tumors, infections including abscesses (pus), or lung damage. With lobectomy, your caregiver will cut and remove only one lobe of your lung. If two lobes of the right lung are removed, the surgery is called bilobectomy. Your caregiver leaves one or two lobes of the lung in place to allow for normal lung function.
- During lobectomy, your caregiver may rejoin the airways he had cut and reattach them to the remaining lobes. This is called sleeve lobectomy. This is often done if a tumor is in the center part of your lungs. Your caregiver may also reattach the cut arteries along with the cut airways. This is called a double sleeve technique. Other parts in the area may also be removed, aside from the lung lobe. These include lymph nodes (glands) between the lobes, chest muscles, tissue lining of your heart, or diaphragm. You and your caregiver will decide which lobectomy technique is best for you.
- Take your medicine as directed. Call your primary healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.
- Antibiotics: This medicine is given to fight or prevent an infection caused by bacteria. Always take your antibiotics exactly as ordered by your primary healthcare provider. Do not stop taking your medicine unless directed by your primary healthcare provider. Never save antibiotics or take leftover antibiotics that were given to you for another illness.
- Pain medicine: You may need medicine to take away or decrease pain.
- Learn how to take your medicine. Ask what medicine and how much you should take. Be sure you know how, when, and how often to take it.
- Do not wait until the pain is severe before you take your medicine. Tell caregivers if your pain does not decrease.
- Pain medicine can make you dizzy or sleepy. Prevent falls by calling someone when you get out of bed or if you need help.
Follow-up visit information:
You will need to see your caregiver after a few days for a follow-up visit. Write down questions you have about having a lobectomy. This way you will remember to ask these questions during your next visit. Ask your caregiver for the lab results if your lung tissue was sent to the lab for tests.
Bathing with stitches:
Follow your primary healthcare provider's instructions on when you can bathe. Gently wash the part of your body that has the stitches. Do not rub on the stitches to dry your skin. Pat the area gently with a towel. When the area is dry, put on a clean, new bandage as directed.
Eat healthy foods:
Choose healthy foods from all the food groups every day. Include whole-grain bread, cereal, rice, and pasta. Eat a variety of fruits and vegetables, including dark green and orange vegetables. Include dairy products such as low-fat milk, yogurt, and cheese. Choose protein sources, such as lean beef and chicken, fish, beans, eggs, and nuts. Ask how many servings of fats, oils, and sweets you should have each day, and if you need to be on a special diet.
You may need extra oxygen to help you breathe easier. It may be given through a plastic mask over your mouth and nose. It may be given through a nasal cannula, or prongs, instead of a mask. A nasal cannula is a pair of short, thin tubes that rest just inside your nose. Tell your caregiver if your nose gets dry or if you get redness or sores on your skin. Never smoke or let anyone else smoke in the same room while your oxygen is on. Doing so may cause a fire.
- Breathing exercises: Take 2 or 3 deep breaths and then cough every hour while you are awake. Do this even if you wake up during the night. Deep breathing opens the tubes going to your lungs. Coughing helps to bring up sputum (spit) from your lungs for you to spit out. When you take a deep breath, hold your breath as long as you can. Afterwards, push the air out of your lungs with a deep strong cough. Put any sputum that you have coughed up into a tissue.
- Chest tube: You may be sent home still having your chest tube. You will be given instructions on how to care for it. Ask your caregiver for more information about chest tubes.
- Incentive spirometer: Use your incentive spirometer as often as your caregiver tells you.
- No smoking: Do not smoke or be around others who are smoking. Breathing in smoke can slow your healing after surgery. Smoking also harms the heart, lungs, and the blood. If you smoke, you should quit. You are more likely to have a heart attack, lung disease, and cancer with smoking. Ask your caregiver for more information about how to stop smoking if you are having trouble quitting.
CONTACT A CAREGIVER IF:
- You are sick to your stomach or throw up.
- You cough up yellow, green, or bloody mucus.
- You have a fever or chills.
- You have trouble having a bowel movement (BM), or you have diarrhea (loose BM) or blood in your BM.
- Your skin is itchy, swollen, or has a rash.
- You have chest pain or trouble breathing that is getting worse over time.
- You have questions or concerns about your condition or medicine.
SEEK CARE IMMEDIATELY IF:
- You are coughing up more than a teaspoon of blood.
- You feel dizzy or faint and pass out.
- You feel your heart beating in an irregular pattern.
- Your bandage becomes soaked with blood, or your incision is swollen, red, or has pus coming from it.
- Your stitches or staples come apart.
- You suddenly feel lightheaded and have trouble breathing.
- You have new and sudden chest pain. You may have more pain when you take deep breaths or cough. You may cough up blood.
- Your arm or leg feels warm, tender, and painful. It may look swollen and red.
Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.