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What were you like after surgery?


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My mom is going in to have one of the lobes in her left lung removed via a VAT Lobectomy. The surgeon has told us it'll be about 3 days in the hospital but in the following days what were you like? what can be expected?

She'd like to fly back home (sea plane, 20min ride) as soon as possible. Once she's out of the hospital how much recovery time do you think she'll need before she can get back?

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I had a pneumonectomy -- complete removal of my right lung with a large incision on my right side.  I was up walking the day after and discharged 5 days after surgery.  VATs is much less intrusive and 3 days discharge post-op sounds about right.

Flying however may be a concern.  Commercial airliners are pressurized with a cabin altitude of between 6,000 and 8,000 feet.  This lower than normal pressure exerts an outward force on one's chest and 14 years after my surgery, my incision scars still ache when I fly.  Bear in mind, I had surgical complications but others without complications also experience this discomfort.  I'd check with the surgeon.  OBTW - the surgeon may not know about the pressure altitude induced -- incision pain problem.

Stay the course.


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Hi Jamie and welcome. I had a VATS lobectomy 2 years ago. I found the surgery to be fairly easy, compared to other surgeries. I was released the day after surgery with a chest tube in place, which stayed in about 10 days until my air leak stopped. Most people stop leaking air sooner and many aren't released from the hospital until the tube is out. I took opeate pain meds while the tube was in, but got off them quickly once it was out and used tylenol and ibuprofen. I was walking around my neighborhood  within a couple of days of surgery, while the tube was still in.  Typically you're told not to lift anything over 5 (or some say 10) pounds for some number of weeks (can't remember how many) . I used a shower bench for showering while the tube was in and had some assistnace-- it was painful to move in certain ways. Also, you're not supposed to drive with the tube in or while your on opiate meds. 

I know some people have had pain with flying. I didn't fly until about 3 months after my surgery and had no problems. It might have been OK sooner, I'm not sure. I think at least your mom would want to be pretty well healed before flying-- I think it's probably pretty individual. A 20 minute flight in a small plane wiill probably be at lower altitude (but I assume unpressurized?) so might be quite different from a big high altitude airliner. 

Best wishes to your mom for a quick recovery. Keep us posted and let us know any other questions you have.

Bridget O

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Thank you for the replies, they are very informative. I was expecting for major surgery for recovery to be much longer once you're out of the hospital.

That's good information to know about flying too, I didn't think about the affects of cabin pressure. 

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