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How do you treat pain after lung surgery?

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Quick Answer

Pain after lung surgery may be treated with prescribed pain medicine and home remedies chosen in consultation with a physician, such as cold packs, stretching and massage, states WebMD. Over-the-counter medicine including aspirin, ibuprofen and acetaminophen may also be helpful. The patient’s chest area may remain painful for up to several months after the surgery, depending on the procedure.

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Full Answer

Recovery from lung surgery typically involves the use of respiratory treatments that rehabilitate lung functioning and chest tubes that drain fluid which builds up after surgery, notes WebMD. Respiratory treatments are conducted by a respiratory therapist, rely on deep breathing, and sometimes include medicines that relax the airway. Chest tubes are inserted through an incision between the ribs and drain fluid and blood with light suction. Recovery requires remaining in the hospital, and the length of the stay depends on the condition of the patient’s lungs, overall health, and the procedure performed.

The lung surgery may be a pneumonectomy, segmentectomy, sleeve resection or lobectomy, explains WebMD. Pneumonectomy involves the extraction of one full lung and is performed only in extreme cases. Segmentectomy entails only the removal of a small wedge of lung tissue that contains cancer and some healthy tissue, which preserves lung functioning but carries a high risk of cancer recurrence. Sleeve resection is performed when cancer is present in the bronchus and involves removing the affected area and reconnecting healthy tissue. In lobectomy, a full lobe of a lung is removed, which does not significantly impair lung functioning.

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