Lung Transplant: Before Your Surgery
What is a lung transplant?
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.
How do you prepare for surgery?
Surgery can be stressful. This information will help you understand what you can expect. And it will help you safely prepare for surgery.
Preparing for surgery
- Be sure you have someone to take you home. Anesthesia and pain medicine will make it unsafe for you to drive or get home on your own.
- Understand exactly what surgery is planned, along with the risks, benefits, and other options.
- If you take a medicine that prevents blood clots, your doctor may tell you to stop taking it before your surgery. Or your doctor may tell you to keep taking it. (These medicines include aspirin and other blood thinners.) Make sure that you understand exactly what your doctor wants you to do.
- Tell your doctor ALL the medicines and natural health products you take. Some may increase the risk of problems during your surgery. Your doctor will tell you if you should stop taking any of them before the surgery and how soon to do it.
- Make sure your doctor and the hospital have a copy of your advance care plan. If you don't have one, you may want to prepare one. It lets others know your health care wishes. It's a good thing to have before any type of surgery or procedure.
What happens on the day of surgery?
Follow the instructions exactly about when to stop eating and drinking. If you don't, your surgery may be cancelled. If your doctor told you to take your medicines on the day of surgery, take them with only a sip of water.
Take a bath or shower before you come in for your surgery. Do not apply lotions, perfumes, deodorants, or nail polish.
Do not shave the surgical site yourself.
Take off all jewellery and piercings. And take out contact lenses, if you wear them.
At the hospital or surgery centre
Bring a picture ID.
The area for surgery is often marked to make sure there are no errors.
You will be kept comfortable and safe by your anesthesia provider. You will be asleep during the surgery.
The surgery will take about 3 to 6 hours.
You will have a tube down your throat for a while. It will help you breathe.
You will probably have one or two tubes coming out of your chest. These tubes drain fluid and air. They will be removed before you go home.
When should you call your doctor?
- You have questions or concerns.
- You don't understand how to prepare for your surgery.
- You become ill before the surgery (such as fever, flu, or a cold).
- You need to reschedule or have changed your mind about having the surgery.
Where can you learn more?
Go to https://www.healthwise.net/patientEd
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Current as of: March 9, 2022