Top of the page
Lung resection is surgery to remove part or all of your lung. It is used to treat a damaged or diseased lung.
It is common to feel tired for 6 to 8 weeks after surgery. Your chest may hurt and be swollen for up to 6 weeks. It may ache or feel stiff for up to 3 months. For up to 3 months, you may also feel tightness, itching, numbness, or tingling around the cut (incision) the doctor made. Your doctor will give you medicines to help with pain.
You may have stitches or staples in the incision. Your doctor will take these out 1 to 2 weeks after your surgery. You may have one or more tubes coming out of your chest to drain fluids. Your doctor will probably take these out about 1 week after surgery.
After surgery, you will probably feel short of breath. Your doctor, nurse, or respiratory therapist will teach you deep-breathing and coughing exercises to help your body get as much oxygen as possible. At first, you also may need to get extra oxygen through a mask or a plastic tube in your nostrils (nasal cannula).
This care sheet gives you a general idea about how long it will take for you to recover. But each person recovers at a different pace. Follow the steps below to get better as quickly as possible.
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.
Call 911 anytime you think you 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 health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse call line if:
Go to https://www.healthwise.net/patientEd
Enter G498 in the search box to learn more about "Lung Resection: What to Expect at Home".
Current as of: June 9, 2019
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine & David C. Stuesse MD - Cardiac and Thoracic Surgery
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.
©2006-2019 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.