Following lung surgery, patients generally stay in the hospital for a week or longer, according to the University of Southern California Keck School of Medicine. The precise length of stay varies from patient to patient.
After a thoracotomy, or lung surgery, the patient may stay one or more days in a special monitoring unit, indicates the University of Minnesota Medical Center. He is then relocated to a hospital room.
The stay at the hospital is necessary to ensure proper recovery. Immediately following the procedure, the patient may be required to have his chest examined via X-ray to evaluate the lungs, according to Johns Hopkins Medicine. Health care providers administer medication to relieve any pain associated with the surgery and monitor heart rate and other important vital signs. The patient may be connected to chest tubes placed near the incision in order to drain fluid and air from the chest.
Rehabilitation services are an important part of the in-hospital recovery process. The medical staff teaches patients coughing mechanisms and deep-breathing exercises that are used to help re-expand the lungs, states Johns Hopkins Medicine. Patients are released from the hospital upon their physician's approval. Because patients should not operate a motor vehicle following the procedure, they must arrange for someone to transport them home.