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You are encouraged to walk twice a day outside if possible to improve strength, maintain an appetite and to get over the lingering effects of general anesthesia. However, no specific rehabilitation is necessary after this type of surgery.

Do not:

  • Lift anything heavier than 5 pounds

  • Drive for 4-6 weeks

Incision Care

Specific instructions will vary slightly, but generally the care for your incision is simple: wash it with soap and water at least once a day, keep your incision open to air and dry, and do not apply lotions, powders or creams to your incision.


The discomfort and fatigue associated with this major surgical intervention are usually resolved three to four weeks after surgery.

Warning Signs

Call your surgeon or thoracic nurse practitioner immediately if:

  • Your incision becomes reddened, opens or starts draining pus or green/yellow drainage.

  • You experience pain that is not relieved by your pain medications, the character of the pain changes or you develop any pain in the left side of your chest.

  • You develop a temperature greater than 101F.

  • You are more short of breath than usual or you become suddenly short of breath.

  • You are becoming more tired during your recovery or you are unable to walk or do any activity.

  • You are not eating enough.

  • Your heart feels like it is racing or you have palpitations in your chest.

Additional Treatment

Depending upon the type of tumor resected, you may need additional treatment.

Approximately a week after surgery, your surgeon will review your final pathology report and discuss it with you at your first follow-up visit.

A 5-year period of review is generally customary. Sequential CT chest scans are performed to assure appropriate healing and monitor recurrence of the disease.