Recovery After Surgical Diagnosis of Chest, Lung Problems

Recovery After Surgical Diagnosis of Chest, Lung Problems

After the procedure, you may need to stay in the hospital for 1-5 days. Once at home, follow your doctor’s instructions carefully. And be sure to make and keep all follow-up appointments.

In the Hospital

Man sitting in hospital bed with tube from incentive spirometer in his mouth. His lips are sealed around tube and he is blowing into it.
Incentive spirometry should be done regularly to help inflate the lungs and prevent infection.
After your procedure, you are sent to a recovery room to recover from the anesthesia. To help keep your lungs clear and prevent infection, a healthcare provider teaches you a breathing exercise called incentive spirometry. It should be done every hour or so. Also, depending on your condition, a nurse or other healthcare provider helps you get up and walk soon after the procedure. This is to keep your blood moving and help prevent infection.

At Home

Once at home, be sure to:

  • Avoid lifting more than 5-10 lbs.

  • Limit strenuous activity.

  • Take pain medication as directed.

  • Return to work and drive a car only when your doctor says it’s okay.

  • Continue doing incentive spirometry.


When to Call the Doctor

  • Redness or swelling of skin at incision sites

  • Drainage at incision sites

  • Uncontrolled or increased pain

  • Shortness of breath

  • Rapid heart rate

  • Fever of 100.4ºF or higher


Getting Your Test Results

It will likely take a few days to get back your test results. Your doctor will discuss the results with you in detail. Be sure to share any concerns you have with your doctor.

If You Have Lung Cancer

You may be referred to one or more cancer specialists for further testing. Other procedures will likely be performed. They can help determine how far along the cancer is. This helps your doctor choose the best treatment plan for you.

If You Have Another Lung or Chest Problem

Your doctor will discuss treatment with you. If you are given medication, follow your doctor’s instructions carefully. And continue to make and keep all follow-up visits. These visits help your doctor monitor your health.