The lungs are the site of gas exchange, such as oxygen and carbon dioxide, between your blood and the atmosphere. A Pneumonectomy is a procedure where one of the lungs is removed from the body and usually takes about 2 hours.
This procedure is usually performed as a result of cancer of the lung or sometimes due to extensive scarring or damage that make it necessary to remove the lung.
This is a major surgery, and as with every major surgery there are risks. Some of the risks involved in a pneumonectomy are bleeding, infection, adverse effects to anesthesia, increased incidence of blood clots to the lung, flash pulmonary edema risk, arrhythmias, heart attack and sometimes death.
The operation carries with it moderate pain which is controlled even before the surgery begins through a variety of methods. You may be given an Intravenous (I.V.) to control the pain, or an epidural which injects pain medication directly into the spine. Many of the pain reduction procedures are started prior to surgery to minimize the pain immediately after surgery.
Our office will refer you to our Thoracic Surgery School at Southlake Regional Health Centre to help prepare you and answer some questions you may have about this surgery and your post-operative care.
As with any major surgery, there are pre-operative tests that must be taken in order to ensure the patient is ready for surgery. These tests make certain that your physician knows as much about your condition as possible which ensures the procedure will be performed as safely as possible. Some of these tests may include: (see the Diagnostic Test section for more details)
We ask that your Family Doctor fill in your Pre-Operative History & Physical Exam Record (found in your surgical package, form #3) and that it be returned to the surgical package envelope upon completion. Please notify our office or the admitting nurse upon arrival to surgery of any changes in your health after your Pre-Op History and Physical Exam were finalized.
You MUST NOT EAT OR DRINK anything after midnight the night before your surgery, only clear fluids (such as clear tea, black coffee, apple juice, ginger ale, Jell-O) may be consumed up to 4 hours before your admission time. Morning pills can be taken with a very small sip of water up until two hours before your admission time (NO milk, NO orange juice), after this time no fluids are allowed (not even water). Please be aware that this includes gum, candy and mints.
Day of Surgery:
Take your usual medication the morning of your surgery with a SIP of water unless instructed not to by your doctor. Please take a shower or bath and remove all make-up and nail polish and tie your hair back if it is long. Wear comfortable clothing which will be easy to put on after your surgery and wear your hearing aid and glasses instead of contacts.
Please leave all cash, valuables and jewelry at home, since there are no lockers and the hospital assumes no responsibility for patient valuables. Also, please leave cell phones and electronic devices at home, as they CAN NOT be used in the hospital.
Please bring with you:
Upon arrival to the hospital please proceed to Same-Day Admitting on the East end of the 2nd Floor of Southlake Regional Health Centre. After registering, your family and friends will be asked to wait in the Surgical Admissions Waiting room on the 2nd Floor during your procedure.
Please remember that every patient’s recovery and recovery time is different depending on the individual and we can only provide approximate time frames and expectations.
You will wake up from the anesthesia in the Post-Anesthetic Care Unit (P.A.C.U., aka. Recovery Room), here, you will spend several hours under close surveillance while recovering from surgery. You may wake up with a breathing tube down your throat; this tube will be removed soon after you are awake when you can breathe on your own. After the recovery room you will proceed the Intensive Care Unit (ICU).
You can expect to be in the hospital from anywhere between 3-5 days after surgery, where your heart, breathing and drainage will be monitored very closely by the nurses and hospital staff. Bandages will cover the sites where the chest tube and incisions were; these are to be kept dry and kept in place for several days after returning home. After several days, you may wash the wounds with water and a mild soap (no bathing) and re-cover with dry gauze if there is any discharge. You must have a friend or relative present to take you home in order to be discharged from the hospital.
Please do not hesitate to call our office if you are experiencing any excessive bleeding, wound discharge, pain, fever, difficulty breathing, vomiting, if your prescription runs out or if you have any questions at all. If you are experiencing any of these problems and are not able to speak with someone in our office (ie. after business hours or on the weekend) and the problem is severe; please visit your local emergency room.
You will have a post-surgery follow-up appointment booked with Dr. Toth, Dr. Privitera, or Dr. Kavanagh in 4-6 weeks after your surgery. During this appointment you will discuss the operation and the final pathology results