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Upper Left Lobectomy Chest Drain Tube site questions


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I recently had an upper left lobectomy and removal of 12 lymph nodes on 6-2-22. They removed the lung chest drain tube the next day.  After my first post op appt 6-8-22- I asked the surgeon why they do not stitch shut or glue the drain tube site like they did all other puncture site?  She stated that some surgeons like to close the drain tube site others do not. By not closing the drain tube site it allows the site to continue to drain as needed.   She stated that my 5 robotic surgical sites were healing really good, and although the drain tube hole was cut a bit bigger than need be, it would heal up on its own as well.   As the surgeon knows-the problem is that I am coughing from time to time which breaks open the drain site and lung fluid drains out- very messy and scary to my husband which has been helping me. They did have me do an x-ray just to be sure I was not producing too much drainage fluid.  Additionally, I was taking a shower each day as per discharge instructions but have just cut my showers back to every other day in hopes this helps the drain tube site to close/heal. I am changing the drainage site bandages daily or as needed.  

Has anyone else had the Lung chest drain tube site left open to drain?  How long does it take to heal typically?

Thank you!  Yvette



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Hi Yvette,

I also had a lobectomy, but in my case when the chest tube was removed they put in a couple of stitches.  I hadn't really heard of leaving it open to continue to drain.  Perhaps it is a different practice that I have not heard of but entirely possible.  I'll let others chime in to get their opinion though.  


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Unfortunately, yes. I had 3 thoracic surgeries all performed by the same surgeon within the span of 7 months and in 2 of them, the drain hole was closed by a special circular suture on removal of the tube. My last surgery, I had 2 drains. One was closed with suture a couple of days after surgery and one was left to close on its own. My surgeon's answer for the difference was to avoid a build up of fluid and pressure while healing. I had to change bandages every day (actually my wife did the changing) and it took about a month to completely heal.

I hope this helps.

Stay the course.


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thanks Tom, it is good to know about the healing time.  I really worry about infection with an open wound.  My husband has been changing the bandage daily for me.  I have been coughing which is making it difficult on the open wound and the site where they pulled the tube and bags to remove the lung and nodes. I talked with doc today and she does not want me to take any kind of cough syrup and asked that I take another dose of the oxycodone prescribed.  I had been only taking 1 of the oxi at night before bedtime to aide in sleeping. .

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