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Lung Lobectomy


Lung lobectomy is surgery to remove one or more lobes from your 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.
  • An arterial line is a tube that is placed into an artery, usually in the wrist or groin. An arterial line may be used for measuring your blood pressure or for taking blood.
  • A CVP line, or central line, is an IV catheter or tube used to give medicines or IV fluids. It is put into a large blood vessel near your collarbone, in your neck, or in your groin. It may also be hooked up to a monitor to take pressure readings. This information helps healthcare providers check your heart.
  • A Foley catheter is a tube put into your bladder to drain urine into a bag. Keep the bag below your waist. This will prevent urine from flowing back into your bladder and causing an infection or other problems. Also, keep the tube free of kinks so the urine will drain properly. Do not pull on the catheter. This can cause pain and bleeding, and may cause the catheter to come out.

During your surgery:

  • You will be placed on your side. A long incision will be made between your ribs that runs from your back to the front of your body. The incision is made to open one side of your chest and reach the lung. Your ribs may be cut or spread apart to help your surgeon see your lung better. A clamp will be placed 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.
  • The lobe of your lung will be removed and the airway tubes tightly sewn together. Your healthcare provider may 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 wire, stitches, or staples. Your lung lobe may be sent to a lab for tests.

After your surgery:

You will be taken to a room to rest until you are fully awake. Healthcare providers will monitor you closely for any problems. Do not get out of bed until your healthcare provider says it is okay. When your healthcare provider sees that you are okay, you will be taken to your hospital room. A bandage may cover your stitches or staples to keep the area clean and dry to prevent infection. A breathing tube may be left in your mouth and throat for 1 to 2 days after surgery. The tube may be hooked up to a machine called a ventilator, which will breathe for you. You may need to stay in the hospital for 5 to 7 days after your surgery.

  • 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 pressure stockings or inflatable boots after surgery. The stockings are tight and put pressure on your legs. The boots have an air pump that tightens and loosens different areas of the boots. Both of these improve blood flow and help prevent clots.


  • Antibiotics help prevent a bacterial infection.
  • Antinausea medicine helps calm your stomach and prevents vomiting.
  • Blood thinners help prevent blood clots. Blood thinners may be given before, during, and after a surgery or procedure. Blood thinners make it more likely for you to bleed or bruise.
  • Heart medicine is given to strengthen or regulate your heartbeat.
  • Pain medicine may be given. Do not wait until the pain is severe before you ask for more medicine.
  • Patient controlled analgesia (PCA) is pain medicine given through an IV or an epidural line attached to a pump. Healthcare providers set the pump to let you give yourself small amounts of pain medicine when you push a button. Your pump may also give you a constant amount of medicine, in addition to the medicine that you give yourself. Let healthcare providers know if your pain is still bad even with the pain medicine.

Respiratory care:

  • A chest tube is used to remove air, blood, or fluid from around your lungs or heart. This lets your lungs fill with air when you breathe, and helps your heart beat normally. The chest tube is attached to a container that collects the blood or fluid. Call a healthcare provider right away if the tube comes apart from the container. Let the healthcare provider know if the tubing gets bent, twisted, or the tape comes loose. You may need more than one chest tube.
  • Deep breathing and coughing 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.
  • Pleurodesis is done to treat air or fluid buildup in the chest. This treatment causes the 2 pleural layers to stick together. The pleura are thin layers of tissue that form a 2-layered lining around the lungs. In between the 2 pleura is the pleural space (small, fluid-filled space). During a pleurodesis, a medicine or chemical is put into the pleural space through a chest tube. The medicine or chemical causes the pleural layers to become irritated and stick together.
  • A ventilator is a machine that gives you oxygen and breathes for you when you cannot breathe well on your own. An endotracheal (ET) tube is put into your mouth or nose and attached to the ventilator. You may need a trach if an ET tube cannot be placed. A trach is a tube put through an incision and into your windpipe.


  • 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 leg or arm. This may become life-threatening. Your risk for problems after surgery is higher if you smoke or have heart disease. Without this surgery, your condition may worsen and you may develop other health problems.


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.

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