Pneumonectomy Surgery-Recovery and Complications

A surgical procedure to remove the entire lung of a person is Pneumonectomy and this is done through thoractomy. Pneumonectomy is a major surgery with removal of lung due to lung cancer and the patients are usually those who suffer from respiratory problems.



This surgery is opted for the reasons given below:

  • Pneumonectomy is opted when the radical surgery fails.

  • This type of surgery is the best when the position of the tumor is near the centre of the lung, which hinders the pulmonary arteries and the veins that supply blood to the heart.

  • When a person has had chest injury and mutilated air passage and the blood vessels that are beyond repair this surgery is the solution.

  • When a person has lung cancer, pneumonectomy helps in getting rid of it.

    Pneumonectomy is a process of thoractomy in which the surgery has one of the painful incisions that require cutting of the rib muscles to separate the rib. The lung is closed and the surgeon ties up the blood vessels. The cancerous lung is then fastened, the air tube is cut, and the lung is removed through the opening.

    The air tube is checked for leakage and stitches or staples close the incisions. This surgery is possible only for those whose cancer is limited to the lung only and have had the lung and the respiratory test before the surgery. The size and spot of the cancer in the person also plays a very important role in surgery.

    Since it is a major operation, the recovery also takes a long period. The patient is monitored closely initially after the surgery and depending on the recovery, the patient will be shifted to the ICU. The first day of surgery, the patient is put on a ventilator or respirator for breathing.

    The patient is sedated and medicines are given until the tubes are taken out. Once the tubes are removed, the respiratory therapist aids the patient with a device that helps in breathing and opening the small sacs of the lungs. The patient needs to stay in the hospital for about 10 days and can return to normal activities in eight weeks time.

    Like all other surgeries, pneumonectomy has its own risks. The patient may face complications such as –

  • Infections such as pneumonia

  • Need for the respiratory system for a longer period after the surgery

  • Irregular heartbeats or heart attacks

  • Fluid buildup in the lungs

  • Kidney failure

  • Pus formation in the space linking the membranes lining the lungs

  • Deep vein thrombosis or Pulmonary Embolism

  • Persistent pain the incision area or in the place where the ribs where cut

  • Stroke

    Other problems are bleeding and troubles related to anesthesia. The complications differ depending on the health of the person and recovery. The stay in the ICU and hospital largely count on these complications. Sometimes another surgery or blood transfusion is also necessary.

    Other grave complications are that some patients may have permanent disability or even lose their life in this pneumonectomy surgery although cancer does not reoccur in that area.

| Pneumonectomy Surgery-Recovery and Complications |

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