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Discharge Instructions for Lobectomy of the Lung

You had a procedure to remove a lobe in your lung, called lobectomy of the lung. Your right lung has three lobes; your left lung has two. Your lobectomy removed one or more lobes. This surgery is done to remove a tumor or to treat an infection. Here's what you need to do at home following surgery.


When to Call Your Doctor

Call your doctor right away if you have any of the following:

  • Fever above 101°F

  • Brown or bloody sputum

  • Drainage from your incision

  • Nausea or vomiting

  • Increased pain

  • Shortness of breath

  • New or unusual swelling in one or both legs

  • Sensation that your heart is racing

  • Irregular, quick, or abnormal heart rhythm

Home Care

  • Leave the small white strips over your incision in place for 7 to 10 days after your surgery. If they fall of sooner, that's  OK.

  • Always keep your incision clean and dry.

  • Shower as needed. Wash your incision gently with mild soap and warm water and pat dry. Do not scrub the incision.

  • You do not need to apply any creams, lotions, or ointments to your incision, even if they contain antibiotics, unless instructed by your doctor.

  • Avoid sitting with your legs down or crossed for long periods of time.

  • Learn to check your own pulse. Keep a record of your results. Ask your doctor which pulse rates mean that you need medical attention.

  • Check your temperature every day for 1 week after your surgery.

  • Use your incentive spirometer at least 5 times a day for the first 2 weeks you are home. You can use it more if you want to. If you can not get it up as high as you could previously, let your doctor know.

  • Return to your normal diet as you feel able. Eat a healthy, well-balanced diet.

  • Do not smoke, and try to avoid being around people who do.

  • Keep in mind that the pain medications that you are given after surgery, as well as prescribed iron supplements, might cause constipation.

    • Use laxatives, stool softeners, or enemas as directed by your doctor.

    • Eat more high-fiber foods.


  • Rest when you are tired. Don’t worry if you are fatigued. Fatigue and weakness normally last a few weeks after lobectomy.

  • Listen to your body. If an activity causes pain, stop.

  • Limit your activity to short walks. Gradually increase your pace and distance as tolerated.

  • Avoid strenuous activities, such as mowing the lawn, vacuuming, or playing sports.

  • Don’t lift anything heavier than 10 pounds for 4 to 6 weeks.

  • Don’t drive until you are off your pain medications and free of pain. This may take 2 to 4 weeks.

  • You should be able to return to work within 2 to 4 weeks, or when you are feeling stronger and you are off your pain medications.


Make a follow-up appointment as directed by our staff.


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