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Lung Lobectomy


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

The Lungs


The week before your surgery:

  • Arrange to have someone drive you home after discharge.
  • Plan on being in the hospital several days.
  • Tell your surgeon about all medicines you currently take. He or she will tell you if you need to stop any medicine for surgery, and when to stop. He or she will tell you which medicines to take or not take on the day of surgery.
  • Do not smoke before, during, or after your surgery. Do not start again after the surgery.
  • You may need to have blood or urine tests before your surgery. You may also need a chest x-ray, EKG, CT, or pulmonary function tests. Ask your healthcare provider for information about these and other tests you may need.

The night before your surgery:

You may be told not to eat or drink anything after midnight.

The day of your surgery:

  • Take only the medicines your surgeon told you to take.
  • An IV will be placed in a vein. You may be given medicine or liquids through the IV.
  • An anesthesiologist will talk to you before your surgery. Tell him or her if you or anyone in your family has had a problem with anesthesia.


What will happen:

  • 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 will be taken to the 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 have a fever.
  • You get a cold or the flu.
  • You have questions or concerns about your surgery.

Seek Care Immediately if

  • You have new or worse shortness of breath.
  • You have chest pain.


  • 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.

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.