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Question about Breathlessness after VATS Lobectomy and Wedge Resection


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My 79 y.o. husband finally got his clinical diagnosis based on the fine needle EBUS biopsy.  His MRI and PET didn't show any indication of metasetses.  So, for now, its a localized T3 N0 M0 Stage 2B spiculated 5 cm mass spanning two lobes within the right lung.  Because my husband had a good pulmonary function test, the surgeon recommended a robotic VATS lobectomy and segmentectomy.  The actual surgery only required the lobectomy and a wedge resection, which went well.  Husband was in the hospital for two nights.  After the horribly onerous chest tube was removed he was discharged.  At home he's having a lot chest muscle pain and a lot of breathlessness while getting up from the bed and in doing any kind of walking.  It affects his getting up as much as required to do the 30 mins a day walking.  I reminded him that we are only 5 days out from surgery so not to get discouraged.  We were told that the breathlessness should lift after a few weeks.  While my husband is seeming to be a bit more mobile and getting every two hours during the day for a short walk around in the apartment, the breathlessness seems a bit more.  Am wondering if folks have information they'd be comfortable sharing about whether the breathlessness gets better and how long it takes.  


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I, unfortunately, had 3 thoracic surgeries all within the first year of my treatment. Recovery from each involved a great deal of breathlessness. Why? In a medical sense, I wouldn't know but in a practical sense, I think it was my system adjusting to the reduction in total lung capacity available for respiration. 

My experience suggests that breathlessness is a normal condition after thoracic surgery that removes portions of one's lung. For me, it was a temporary condition and I learned to gradually adjust to my adjusted lung capacity. It took time but your husband is doing the right thing by getting up and moving about. In my case, it took about a month for my pain to abate and about 3 months to completely discard the breathlessness.

Stay the course,


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