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A Patient's Guide to Lung Surgery

Thoracotomy: In the Recovery Area

After surgery, you'll be moved to a recovery area where you can be closely monitored. When you first wake up from the anesthesia, you may feel groggy, thirsty, or cold. If the breathing tube given to you during surgery remains in place, you won't be able to talk.

Flexible tubes in your chest drain air, blood, and fluid. Intravenous (IV) lines give you fluid and medications. Monitors record your heartbeat and the amount of oxygen in your blood. You may spend one or more days in this special monitoring unit before you're moved to a regular hospital room.

During your recovery, you'll be given pain medications to help make you more comfortable. You may also be taught exercises to improve your breathing and your range of motion while you heal. The hospital stay after a thoracotomy varies from patient to patient, but it's often a week or longer.



> Next: Thoracotomy: Managing Your Pain

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