Lung Surgery

After Your Lung Surgery: Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) Guide

This FAQ guide gives you a general idea about what you can expect after your lung surgery. Every individual recovers at a different pace, but you can follow the steps below to get better as quickly as possible after your lung surgery.

What should I do after the operation?

You are encouraged to start moving as soon as you can to help your circulation and prevent any blood clots from forming. If you cannot move from your bed, you can use a static exercise bicycle.

Some patients may unconsciously keep the arm on the operated side still for fear of pain. Do move your arm occasionally to avoid developing a stiff shoulder, which would require treatment in the future.

How do I care for my incisions?

Wash the area daily with warm, soapy water, and pat it dry.

Cover the area with a gauze bandage if it rubs against your clothes, but remember to change the bandage every day. Keep the area clean and dry.

Avoid using alcohol or hydrogen peroxide on the wound as it slows down healing.

What kind of activities should I do at home?

  • Rest if you feel tired
  • Breathing exercises as this prevents pneumonia
  • Light exercises such as walking to boost blood flow and strength
  • Avoid strenuous activities and lifting anything heavy

If you need any advice, do contact us at 6473 3930.

What kind of diet should I observe?

You can continue your normal diet. If you have no appetite, try bland, low-fat foods such as plain rice, boiled chicken, toast, and yogurt. Be sure to drink plenty of fluids.

It is common to have irregular bowel movements after your surgery. Consume a high-fiber diet or get a laxative from our lung doctor. Do avoid straining your bowels.

What medication should I take?

You should take the medication prescribed by our doctor. Our lung specialist may also prescribe you pain medicines if required.

If you take regular medication, our specialist will tell you when to restart taking your medication.

What is the recovery period?

Your chest may feel sore due to the incisions. It typically gets better after 2 to 3 weeks.

Generally, you may be discharged 1 to 5 days after the operation. Our doctor will take out the stitches or staples in the incisions 10 days to 2 weeks after the operation.

Depending on each individual, it can take up to 1-2 months to fully recover from a lung operation.

What kind of symptoms should I look out for?

Seek medical attention if you have the following symptoms:

  • Sudden chest pain
  • Shortness of breath
  • Cough up blood
  • Loose stitches or if your incisions come open
  • Signs of infection like:

o   Fever over 38°C

o   Pus or red streaks from the incision

o   Increased pain, swelling, warmth, or redness

o   Swollen lymph nodes in your neck, armpits, or groin

When is my next outpatient appointment?

Your next outpatient appointment will be within 1 week after the operation.

At Thoracic & Cardiovascular Surgery Specialist, we aim to help you regain maximum health and independence as quickly as possible. Our lung doctor and nurses will always be available to support you throughout your treatment.