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

The Lungs


The week before your surgery:

  • Arrange to have someone drive you home when you are discharged. You may need to have someone help you with daily activities for a few weeks while you heal.
  • Tell your surgeon about any allergies you have. Tell him or her if you have ever had an allergic reaction to anesthesia.
  • Tell your surgeon about all medicines you are currently taking. Include prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and supplements. Your surgeon will tell you if you need to stop taking any medicines before surgery, and when to stop.
  • You may need blood or urine tests before your surgery. You may also need x-rays, a CT scan, or an MRI.

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.
  • 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.
  • Healthcare providers may put an IV into your vein. You may be given liquids and medicine through the IV.
  • You will be given general anesthesia to keep you asleep and free from pain during surgery.


What will happen:

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


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 (Precare)

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Further information

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