After your surgery, you will be transferred to the recovery room (PACU) and then to a monitored bed on the Thoracic Surgical Floor. In rare cases, a patient may require admission to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU).
Tubes and Lines
Pain control is critical to decreasing post-operative complications and improving full recovery. When possible, Dr. Skylizard will initiate an over-the-counter prophylactic pain regimen prior to surgery. Most chest surgery patients will receive a long acting nerve block during the operation. Pain medications taken properly by mouth generally provide longer and more consistent pain relief and/or control. Some of your pain medications will be initially administered by IV and then quickly transitioned to medication by mouth. In certain circumstances, we may recommend an epidural.
After the operation, you need to work on getting your lungs back into shape. You will start deep breathing and coughing exercises immediately following your operation. Most patients undergoing any thoracic surgery procedure will be expected to walk the day/evening of surgery with supervised assistance. You will also need to sit in a chair most of the day and walk at least four times a day after the operation. While we understand you may be tired or sore, it is imperative you participate fully. Patients that do not actively participate in these efforts are more prone to getting pneumonia and possibly dying.
Deep Venous Thrombosis (DVT) and Pulmonary Embolism (PE)
Following any thoracic surgical procedure, ALL patients are at increased risk of developing life threatening clots in their legs and/or arms. Dr. Skylizard’s patients are routinely administered a shot of heparin in the pre-operative holding area prior to surgery and then scheduled for additional heparin shots post-operatively to help decrease the risk of developing DVTs. After the operation, you will need to walk at least four times a day to improve your breathing and decrease the chance of developing life threatening DVTs. Most patients undergoing any thoracic surgical procedure will be expected to walk the day/evening of surgery with supervised assistance.
After most procedures, Dr. Skylizard’s patients are started on liquids and rapidly advanced to an appropriate diet. All patients are started on a bowel regimen generally consisting of a stool softener and similar medications.