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Lung Lobectomy


Lung lobectomy is surgery to remove one or more lobes from your lungs.

The Lungs


Before your surgery:

  • Informed consent is a legal document that explains the tests, treatments, or procedures that you may need. Informed consent means you understand what will be done and can make decisions about what you want. You give your permission when you sign the consent form. You can have someone sign this form for you if you are not able to sign it. You have the right to understand your medical care in words you know. Before you sign the consent form, understand the risks and benefits of what will be done. Make sure all your questions are answered.
  • An IV is a small tube placed in your vein that is used to give you medicine or liquids.
  • General anesthesia will keep you asleep and free from pain during surgery. Anesthesia may be given through your IV. You may instead breathe it in through a mask or a tube placed down your throat. The tube may cause you to have a sore throat when you wake up.

During your surgery:

  • General anesthesia will keep you asleep and free from pain during surgery. Your surgeon will make a long incision between your ribs. The incision will start on your back and come around to the front of your body. He or she will place a clamp on your lung's blood vessels and airway tubes. This stops the blood and air from flowing through the area where the surgery will be done.
  • Your surgeon will remove the lobe of your lung and stitch the airway tubes together. He or she will reattach the airways and arteries to your remaining lobes. One or more chest tubes may be put inside your chest to drain blood and fluid. Your incision will be closed with stitches or staples.

After your surgery:

  • You may be taken to a recovery room then the intensive care unit (ICU). Healthcare providers will watch you closely to make sure you are okay. A healthcare provider may remove the bandages soon after your surgery to check your wound and drains.
  • You will have several tubes in place , which might make it hard to move. All of these tubes are important to help your healthcare providers know about any problems. The drains are taken out when the incision stops draining. Do not get out of bed until your healthcare provider says it is okay.
  • You will be able to drink liquids and eat certain foods once your stomach function returns after surgery. You may be given ice chips at first. Then you will get liquids such as water, broth, juice, and clear soft drinks. If your stomach does not become upset, you may then be given soft foods, such as ice cream and applesauce. Once you can eat soft foods easily, you may slowly begin to eat solid foods.
  • You may need to wear inflatable boots and pressure stockings. The boots have an air pump that tightens and loosens different areas of the boots. The stockings are tight and put pressure on your legs. This improves blood flow and helps prevent clots.
  • Medicines may be given to prevent or relieve pain, nausea, or an infection caused by bacteria. You may also need medicines to help your heart and lungs work properly.
  • Take deep breaths and cough 10 times each hour. This will decrease your risk for a lung infection. Take a deep breath and hold it for as long as you can. Let the air out and then cough strongly. Deep breaths help open your airway. You may be given an incentive spirometer to help you take deep breaths. Put the plastic piece in your mouth and take a slow, deep breath, then let the air out and cough. Repeat these steps 10 times every hour.
  • You will be helped to walk around after surgery. Movement will help prevent blood clots. You may also be given exercises to do in bed. Do not get out of bed on your own until your healthcare provider says you can. Talk to healthcare providers before you get up the first time. They may need to help you stand up safely. When you are able to get up on your own, sit or lie down right away if you feel weak or dizzy. Then press the call light button to let healthcare providers know you need help.
  • Respiratory care:
    • Chest tubes may be needed to remove air that entered your chest during surgery. They also remove any extra blood and fluid. Your chest tubes will be left in place for about 1 or 2 weeks, or until all of the extra fluid and air is gone.
    • You may be on a ventilator for 1 day or longer after surgery. Then, you will need to wear oxygen through a mask or small tubes placed in your nose. Ask your healthcare provider before you take off the mask or oxygen tubing.


  • You may bleed more than expected or get an infection. You may have trouble breathing or develop pneumonia. Other organs or tissues near your lung may be damaged. You may have pain, which may make it hard for you to breathe well. Air and fluid may leak from the lung that was opened. When this happens, your chest tube may need to stay in place for a longer time. You may also need to stay in the hospital longer.
  • You may get a blood clot in your limb. This may become life-threatening. Your risk for problems after surgery is higher if you smoke or have heart disease.


You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your healthcare providers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment.

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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

Further information

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