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Lung Lobectomy


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


The week before your surgery:

  • Write down the correct date, time, and location of your surgery.
  • Arrange a ride home. Ask a family member or friend to drive you home after your surgery or procedure. Do not drive yourself home.
  • Ask your healthcare provider if you need to stop using aspirin or any other prescribed or over-the-counter medicine before your procedure or surgery.
  • Bring your medicine bottles or a list of your medicines when you see your healthcare provider. Tell your provider if you are allergic to any medicine. Tell your provider if you use any herbs, food supplements, or over-the-counter medicine.
  • If you smoke, your healthcare provider may tell you to stop smoking at least 2 to 3 weeks before your surgery.
  • Your healthcare provider may have you start using an incentive spirometer before your surgery. This is a device that improves your breathing.
  • You may need to have blood or urine tests before your surgery. You may need an ECG, a chest x-ray, and CT scan. You may also need exercise stress tests, pulmonary function tests, and an arterial blood gas (ABG) test. These tests check how well your heart and lungs work. Talk to your healthcare provider about these or other tests you may need. Write down the date, time, and location for each test.

The night before your surgery:

Ask healthcare providers about directions for eating and drinking.

The day of your surgery:

  • Ask your healthcare provider before you take any medicine on the day of your surgery. Bring a list of all the medicines you take, or your pill bottles, with you to the hospital. Providers will check that your medicines will not interact poorly with the medicine you need for surgery.
  • Healthcare providers may insert an intravenous tube (IV) into your vein. A vein in the arm is usually chosen. Through the IV tube, you may be given liquids and medicine.
  • An anesthesiologist will talk to you before your surgery. You may need medicine to keep you asleep or numb an area of your body during surgery. Tell healthcare providers if you or anyone in your family has had a problem with anesthesia in the past.
  • You or a close family member will be asked to sign a legal document called a consent form. It gives healthcare providers permission to do the procedure or surgery. It also explains the problems that may happen, and your choices. Make sure all your questions are answered before you sign this form.


What will happen:

  • 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 so your surgeon can 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 cannot make it to your surgery.
  • You have a fever.
  • You get a cold or the flu.
  • You have questions or concerns about your surgery.

Seek Care Immediately if

  • Your symptoms get worse.
  • You have sudden shortness of breath, or your heart is beating faster than normal for you.
  • You vomit blood.


  • 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.

Care Agreement

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

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.