A chest tube is placed through the chest wall between two ribs. Your child had a chest tube put in to help a collapsed lung expand. Your child may have some pain in the chest from the cut (incision) where the tube was put in. For most people, the pain goes away after about 2 weeks. Your child will have a bandage taped over the wound. The doctor will remove the bandage and examine the wound in about 2 days.
It will take about 3 to 4 weeks for your child's incision to heal completely. It may leave a small scar that will fade with time.
This care sheet gives you a general idea about how long it will take for your child to recover. But each child recovers at a different pace. Follow the steps below to help your child get better as quickly as possible.
Follow-up care is a key part of your child's treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if your child is having problems. It's also a good idea to know your child's test results and keep a list of the medicines your child takes.
Call 911 anytime you think your child may need emergency care. For example, call if:
Call your doctor or nurse call line now or seek immediate medical care if:
Watch closely for any changes in your child's health, and be sure to call the doctor if:
Go to https://www.healthwise.net/patientEd
Enter G219 in the search box to learn more about "Chest Tube in Children: What to Expect at Home".
Current as of: September 5, 2018
Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine & David C. Stuesse, MD - Cardiac and Thoracic Surgery
©2006-2018 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.
Care instructions adapted under license by your healthcare professional. If you have questions about a medical condition or this instruction, always ask your healthcare professional. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information.