How Do You Recover After Lung Surgery?


Quick Answer

For the first month or two after lung surgery, recovery involves building activity levels from walking to more strenuous tasks while avoiding anything that applies stress to incisions, such as lifting heavy objects, notes the University of Southern California. Walking should resume quickly, though, to boost strength and lung capacity.

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Full Answer

Using pain medicines before starting an activity helps to make breathing less painful. Most lung surgery patients feel a shortness of breath for the first few weeks of recovery, but this is a normal part of healing and improves with time. As patients feel better, they should add activities that are more strenuous, according to the University of Southern California.

Different patients recover at different rates of speed, so each patient should talk to his physician about the amount of time to wait before going back to work, driving a car and having sex. When in the shower, gently washing the incision with a mild soap and warm water is important for avoiding infection. Patients should expect numbness, pain, itching and bruising around the incision point for several weeks after the surgery. If patients experience draining from the incision, skin that is red and puffy, sudden chest pains, rapid heartbeat, severe shortness of breath or a fever high than 101 degrees Fahrenheit, medical attention is necessary, reports the University of Southern California.

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