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Post-op lobectomy question


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Hi, my mom was diagnosed with adenocarcinoma in October.  She underwent a lobectomy and had her right lower and middle lobes removed. Since the surgery she describes an internal sensation of "pulling and tearing" in the area where her lung used to be.  She has started to exercise more and notices that the sensation increases with activity.  Just wondering if anyone else has experienced this?  She is wondering if this is normal.

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I had some weird internal sensations for a few months after my lobectomy.  There is still healing going on in there, and it takes time for everything to settle down inside.  Among other things going on, the remaining lung kind of shifts position, and the newly empty part of the chest cavity fills with fluid and scar-type tissue.  She should discuss it with her surgeon, but I think what she's experiencing is pretty common and will lessen as time goes by.

I had my lobectomy more than a year and a half ago and the only remaining "weird feeling" is sort of a twinge if I inhale sharply (e.g., before a sneeze, or during a deep yawn).  It doesn't hurt, it's just a twinge.

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  • 5 weeks later...

Hi Allie,

Sorry for a late post - I don't get on this site as much as I'd like to!

I, too, had a lobectomy (RUL) last October 2018, so I am still recovering as well.  It's taking longer to "heal" completely than I thought it would... but nothing really painful, just some odd feelings. I still have numbness in the breast area, under my right arm and the upper right portion of my torso.  The scar where the chest tube was still causes pain once in a while, but it's very tolerable. I don't take anything  nor do I use the lido patches at all anymore.  I will feel a sharp pain every so often that is no where near the scars, so not sure what it's from. I sometimes "think" I feel something inside when I breathe in deeply - it is kind of a pulling / tearing feeling (like your mom's described) or like something is stuck a bit, but it passes.  I find that sometimes if I have to cough hard or I sneeze hard that there is some pain on the side I was operated on, but I don't feel it apart from that.

I like Lexie's description and I would agree with it regarding the shifting, scar tissue, etc. as all part of this. From all that I've read, these twinges and odd feelings are probably normal and part of the healing process.  I try not to worry too much about them.  I walk a lot and pay more attention to how I feel and what my O2 reading is.  Sometimes I swear when I'm walking at a fast pace / breathing deep - especially in the cold air - that my right side - where the upper lobe was removed - feels more hollow than the rest of my chest, but I'm sure it's my imagination!

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