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Pneumonectomy

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:

A pneumonectomy is surgery to remove one of your lungs because of cancer, trauma, or another condition.

The Lungs

WHILE YOU ARE HERE:

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. Healthcare providers may give you anesthesia through your IV. You may 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.
  • Antibiotics may be given through your IV at the time of your surgery. They help prevent infection caused by bacteria.

During your surgery:

You will be given general anesthesia to keep you asleep and free from pain during surgery. Your surgeon will make an incision from front to back on one side of your chest. Your lung will be removed. Tubes may be put in your chest to drain extra blood and fluid. Your incision will be closed with stitches or staples and covered with a bandage.

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.

  • You may need extra oxygen if your blood oxygen level is lower than it should be. You may get oxygen through a mask placed over your nose and mouth or through small tubes placed in your nostrils. Ask before you take off the mask or oxygen tubing.
  • A chest tube is used to remove air, blood, or fluid from around your lungs or heart. This helps your lungs fill with air and your heart beat normally. The chest tube is attached to a container to collect the blood or fluid. Press your call button right away if the tube comes apart from the container. Tell a healthcare provider if the tubing gets bent, twisted, or the tape comes loose. You may need more than one chest tube.
  • 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 need to walk around the same day of surgery or the day after. Movement will help prevent blood clots. 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 for pain and inflammation. Medicines may also be given to help prevent infection and nausea.

RISKS:

You may bleed more than expected or develop pneumonia. You may have trouble breathing. You may develop an irregular heartbeat. Fluid may build up around your lungs or heart. You may have decreased blood flow to your heart. You may have trouble breathing. You may get a blood clot in your lung. This may become life-threatening.

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.

Learn more about Pneumonectomy (Inpatient Care)

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Further information

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