A lung transplant is surgery to remove your diseased lung and give you a healthy one. The new lung comes from a person who has died.
Your body will be able to work with only one healthy lung. Most people get one new lung, but some people get two.
To do the surgery, the doctor makes a cut in your side about 6 inches below your armpit. This cut is called an incision. Then the doctor removes part of a rib so he or she can take out your lung and put in the new one. Next, he or she connects the blood vessels of the new lung to your body's blood vessels and connects the main bronchial tube of the new lung to your main bronchial tube. Then the doctor closes the incision with stitches or staples. These are removed about 1 to 3 weeks after surgery. The incision will leave a scar that will fade with time.
After surgery, the new lung will start to work right away. This can help you breathe more easily.
You will probably spend 1 to 3 weeks in the hospital. But it may take 2 to 3 months for your energy to fully return.
Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.
Surgery can be stressful. This information will help you understand what you can expect. And it will help you safely prepare for surgery.
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Current as of: March 28, 2018
Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
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