Increased pain, swelling, warmth, or redness. Walking helps prevent blood clots in your legs. Create a custom communication board for patients who are not able to use their voice. Enter W573 in the search box to learn more about "Video-Assisted Thoracoscopic Surgery (VATS): What to Expect at Home". MyMSK ( is your MSK patient portal account. If you take aspirin or some other blood thinner, ask your doctor if and when to start taking it again. Don't use hydrogen peroxide or alcohol, which can slow healing. In minimally invasive heart surgery, heart (cardiac) surgeons perform heart surgery through small incisions in the right side of your chest, as an alternative to open-heart surgery.Surgeons don't cut through the breastbone (sternotomy). Be sure to stand straight. VATS Lobectomy Leads to Speedy Recovery. To do the exercises, follow the instructions below. This care sheet gives you a general idea about how long it will take for you to recover. Slowly twist the upper part of your body to the right side. Figure 1. If you haven’t had a bowel movement in 2 days, call your doctor or nurse. It is a form of 'keyhole' surgery which can be used to do a number of different surgical procedures. Don’t take tub baths until you discuss it with your doctor at the first appointment after your surgery. If you have strips of tape on the incisions, leave the tape on for a week or until it falls off. After 48 hours, if you don’t have any drainage, you can remove the bandage and keep your incision uncovered. The hospital stay for open surgery is longer than it is for VATS. The patient experiences a more rapid recovery with less pain and a shorter hospital stay (usually 3 days) with video-assisted lobectomy as compared with traditional thoracotomy surgery. Take your medications as directed and as needed. Your body is an excellent guide for telling you when you have done too much. You may return to your usual sexual activity as soon as your incisions are well healed and you can do so without pain or fatigue. This is normal. Rest when you feel tired. These things can cause infection. You may have some numbness below and in front of your incisions. This will help you notice any changes once you’re at home. But each person recovers at a different pace. If any fluid is draining from your incision(s), write down the amount, color, and if it has a smell. Many resources are available to patients and their families. If you have questions about your diet, ask to see a dietitian. to learn about what you can do to stay safe and keep from falling while you’re in the hospital. Tell the nurse if you drink alcohol every day or if you have recently stopped drinking alcohol. Increase your activities each day as much as you can. Try not to nap during the day. It’s important for you to resume your activities after surgery. Ask to speak to the thoracic surgeon on call. Make sure that you understand exactly what your doctor wants you to do. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated. There will be incisions from the surgical site and the chest tube. Video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery (VATS) is a minimally invasive surgical technique used to diagnose and treat problems in your chest.During a video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery procedure, a tiny camera (thoracoscope) and surgical instruments are inserted into your chest through small incisions in your chest wall. You will also have a chest tube that goes into a drainage device (see Figure 1). Your nurse, doctor, and social worker can reassure, support, and guide you. Smoking causes the blood vessels in your body to become narrow. Your nurse will give you instructions on how to make this appointment, including the phone number to call. Time for full recovery after surgery largely depends on two factors: 1. For more information, read our resource. Pain medication is most effective 30 to 45 minutes after taking it. Hold this position for 5 seconds while bringing your elbows as far back as possible. Log in to create and save frequently used communication boards. Avoid contact with people with colds, sore throats, or the flu. If your pain isn’t relieved, tell your doctor or nurse. This will help you get stronger, feel better, and heal. Returning to regular life at home after lung cancer surgery can be daunting. You will probably need to take at least 1 to 2 weeks off from work. Ask your doctor how long you should avoid heavy lifting. Do light household tasks. Ask your doctor when it is safe for you to drive or fly. Remove your bandages and use soap to gently wash your incisions. The VATS procedure uses an endoscope to explore the lungs. During a VATSprocedure, a tiny camera (thoracoscope) and surgical instruments are inserted into your chest through one or more small incisions in your chest wall. He or she will also give you instructions about taking any new medicines. Ask your doctor how much you should drink each day. Change the bandage every day. Talk with your nurse about how to manage constipation. Climb stairs slowly, resting or stopping as needed. We read every comment, but we're not able to respond. However, it’s normal for your pain to increase slightly as you increase your level of activity. It’s important to control your pain so you can cough, breathe deeply, use your incentive spirometer, and get out of bed and walk. Start by walking a little more than you did the day before. Drinks with caffeine, such as coffee and soda, pull fluid out of the body. Drink plenty of fluids (unless your doctor tells you not to). Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. That makes it a less invasive procedure with a quicker recovery. Make a daily walk part of your routine. While patients are in the hospital, staff follow their progress with chest x-rays and remove chest tubes once the lungs have healed. Slide your hands down to the back of your neck. Recovery time is generally shorter after minimally invasive surgery compared to open surgery, but you will still need time to rest and recover. You will have more than 1 incision after your surgery. Smoking cigarettes is harmful to your health at any time. It’s common to have less energy than usual after your surgery. These surgeries, which can be necessary f… Traditional lung operations are performed through a thoracotomy (a long incision on the side of the chest), which involves spreading the ribs. A mild pain reliever such as acetaminophen (Tylenol. If you have drainage, keep wearing a bandage until the drainage stops. Getting enough sleep will help you recover. Over the past 6,000 cases, more than 95% of our patients go home from the hospital 1-2 days after surgery. Don’t stop taking your pain medication suddenly. You will stay in the hospital until your doctor feels you’re ready to go home. For most people, this will be at least 8 to 10 (8-ounce) glasses of water or other liquids (such as juices) each day. You can also contact the MyMSK Help Desk by emailing or calling 800-248-0593. During this time a respiratory therapist will visit with you, encouraging you to take deep breaths to reduce the risk of infection. Keep using your incentive spirometer and do your coughing and deep breathing exercises at home. You may get a prescription for pain medication before you leave the hospital. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information. Use a humidifier in your bedroom during the winter months. Slowly twist the upper part of your body to the left side. A lobectomy—removal of a lobe in a lung—is major surgery usually offered as a treatment for non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). You will have stitches or staples in the incisions. It’s simple, and it’s safe. Video-Assisted Thoracoscopic Surgery (VATS): What to Expect at Home, David C. Stuesse MD - Cardiac and Thoracic Surgery. Similar t… Bring your arms over your head, straighten your elbows, and stretch toward your upper back. As your incisions heal, you will have less pain and need less pain medication. Smoking can also cause problems with breathing and regular activities. This depends on the type of surgery you had. Read more. Your diet should include a healthy protein source at each meal, as well as fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. It’s always a good idea to let these professionals know how you, your family, and your friends are feeling emotionally. Read our resource Call! If you don’t already have a MyMSK account, you can sign up by going to For more information, read our resource Constipation. Once you’re stable, you’ll go to a regular hospital room to recover. Your doctor will tell you if and when you can restart your medicines. It may take some time until your normal sleep pattern returns. If you're a patient at MSK and you need to reach a provider after 5:00, All rights owned and reserved by Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, © 2021 Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, Gerstner Sloan Kettering Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, How to Enroll in MyMSK: Memorial Sloan Kettering's Patient Portal, Commonly Asked Questions: During Your Hospital Stay. Your surgeon does this operation through two to four small cuts in the side of your chest, one about 2 ½ inches … Taking too much acetaminophen can harm your liver. Call your doctor if the medication prescribed for you doesn’t relieve your pain. Comparative study of video-assisted thoracic surgery versus open thymectomy for thymoma in one single center. Whether you’re in the hospital or at home, the nurses, doctors, and social workers are here to help you and your family and friends handle the emotional aspects of your illness. Or VATS may have been done to operate on other organs in your chest. Rest is a vital part of your recovery. You will get oxygen through a thin tube that rests below your nose called a nasal cannula. A chest tube is a flexible tube that drains blood, fluid, and air from around your lung after surgery. This will help prevent blood clots in your legs and lower your risk of developing pneumonia. An endoscope is a narrow bendable tube that has a light source on the end. It also lowers your risk of having other complications such as pneumonia. Walking boosts blood flow and helps prevent pneumonia and constipation. Family and friends can help. Some people may have soreness around their incision, tightness, or muscle aches for 6 months or longer. These will help to relieve the pain on the side of your surgery. Your nurse will explain the best way to recover from your surgery. Sign up for MyMSK to send your questions and receive answers to your most pressing concerns. Huntsman Cancer Institute is the only hospital in the entire Mountain West region using the robotic Intuitive da Vinci® Surgical System for thoracic surgery. ©2006-2020 Healthwise, Incorporated. For example, use them when you bathe, brush your hair, and reach up to a cabinet shelf. Start doing arm and shoulder exercises as soon as your chest tube bandage is removed. When you start again, remember that it will take time for you to return to your previous level of activity. The time it takes to return to work depends on the type of work you do, the type of surgery you had, and how fast your body heals. Plan your activities for times of the day when you have more energy. It depends on the type of work you do and the surgery you had. In minimally invasive surgery, your heart surgeon may have a better view of some parts of your heart than in open-heart surgery. To help relieve pain, doctors will provide medicine orally, through an IV and through the chest tube. If you have not had a bowel movement after a couple of days, ask your doctor about taking a mild laxative. Recovery time is different for everyone. You will also have compression boots on your lower legs. For more information about signing up for a MyMSK account, watch our video How to Enroll in MyMSK: Memorial Sloan Kettering's Patient Portal. Video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery (VATS) is a way to do surgery inside the chest using several small cuts (incisions) instead of one larger incision (open surgery). You may cover the area with a gauze bandage if it weeps or rubs against clothing. This helps to reduce pain and prevent blood clots in people with neurogenic thoracic outlet syndrome. You can use MyMSK to send and receive messages from your healthcare team, view your test results, see your appointment dates and times, and more. Bit by bit, increase the amount you walk. Life After Lobectomy: 6 Steps to a Smooth Recovery After Lung Cancer Surgery. Patients generally stay in the hospital for one day to recover from the surgery and anesthesia. Video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery (VATS) is a surgical procedure that allows doctors to see inside the chest and lungs. After surgery for a serious illness, you may have new and upsetting feelings. Below are examples of ways you can help yourself recover safely. Don’t do heavy exercise or play contact sports until your doctor tells you it’s safe. Bilateral video-assisted thoracoscopic thymectomy appears to have improved recovery time and comparable rates of remission to more invasive approaches, though more high-quality long-term outcomes studies are needed. Do not drink alcohol, especially while you are taking pain medication. For VATS, your surgeon will use a long, thin video camera and surgical tools during your surgery. Video-assisted thoracic surgery (VATS): 1 or more small incisions on your side, back, or both (see Figure 11). Start out slowly and increase your activity as you feel better. You will have some pain after your surgery. Many people say they felt weepy, sad, worried, nervous, irritable, and angry at one time or another. Try to hold the position for 5 seconds. Relax and return to the starting position. The recovery time for VATS is relatively short compared to most surgical procedures. You can begin driving again after you have: Don’t travel by plane until your doctor says it’s okay. Video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery (VATS) is a surgical operation involving thoracoscopy, usually performed by a thoracic surgeon using general or local/regional anaesthesia with additional sedation as necessary. Taking a shower before bed and taking your prescribed pain medications can also help. You may take showers. MSK is now offering COVID-19 vaccine to patients age 65 and over who live in New York State and are in active treatment with MSK on or after 1/1/19. Your chest tube and drainage device. The best exercise is walking, climbing stairs, or doing another kind of aerobic exercise for at least 30 minutes each day. This will help your lungs expand, which prevents pneumonia. The thoracoscope transmits images of the inside of your chest onto a video monitor, guiding the surgeon in performing the procedure. You have loose stitches, or your incisions come open. You have sudden chest pain and shortness of breath, or you cough up blood. Always balance activity periods with rest periods. You may notice that your bowel movements are not regular right after your surgery. Drink 8 (8-ounce) glasses (2 liters) of liquids daily, if you can. Normally, you shouldn’t lift anything heavier than 10 pounds (4.5 kilograms) for at least 3 weeks. By the time you’re ready to leave the hospital, your surgical incision(s) will have started to heal. Put your arms in front of your body and hold one end of a hand towel in each hand (see Figure 3). This usually gets better after 2 to 3 weeks. Rest is a vital part of your recovery. This will help restore full use of your arm and shoulder. The tube enters your body between your ribs and goes into the space between your chest wall and lung (see Figure 1). Follow the steps below to get better as quickly as possible. Follow the guidelines below. One common reason to do VATS is to remove part of … Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if you are having problems. Look at your incision(s) with your nurse before you leave the hospital so you know what it looks like. A temperature of 101° F (38.3° C) or higher, Pain that doesn’t get better with your medications, Drainage from your incision that is smells bad or is thick or yellow (like pus). Exercise for at least 30 minutes each day. Do not take a bath for the first 2 weeks, or until your doctor tells you it is okay. A biopsy helps physicians narrow down an accurate diagnosis, which can inform your available treatment options. Look at your incisions with your nurse before you leave the hospital. Your chest tube will be removed when your lung is no longer leaking air and the drainage from your tube has decreased enough. Increase your activities each day as much as you can. Always balance activity periods with rest periods. Having a temperature of 101° F (38.3° C) or higher. Keep track of when you take your pain medication. It may take some time until your normal sleep pattern returns. The amount of time you will need to recover depends on the surgery you had. Once home, most patients will regain most of their strength, energy and breathing after two to three weeks. A chest tubeis placed in your chest during surgery, and usually, stays in place for 24 to 48 hours. VATS also is different from open surgery because it does not require the doctor to cut through the ribs or breastbone (sternum). Taking it when your pain first begins is more effective than waiting for the pain to get worse. Your feedback will help us improve the information we provide to patients and caregivers. The location of your incisions will depend on the type of surgery you had. Walking and stair climbing are excellent forms of exercise. Most people go home the same day that their chest tube is removed. The length of time each person has pain or discomfort varies. Following surgery, the length of time you are in the hospital will depend on what type of procedure is done (VATS vs open thoracotomy) and your progress during recovery. Clasp your hands together (see Figure 2). Bright red blood has soaked through the bandage over your incision. You may have a urinary catheter in your bladder to monitor the amount of urine you’re making. Follow the directions for cleaning the machine. Call 911 anytime you think you may need emergency care. If your doctor prescribed antibiotics, take them as directed. For more resources, visit to search our virtual library. ... Sun KL, et al. Read the pathway handout that your nurse gives you to see what to expect and how to help your recovery while you’re in the hospital. That means it uses smaller cuts (incisions) than traditional open surgery. After your stay in the PACU, you will be taken to your hospital room. You may have trouble passing stool (feces). Cleveland Clinic is one of the few centers in the nation with significant experience in … It is even more so as you’re healing after your surgery. You may have some thin, yellow or pink-colored drainage from your incision. This will help prevent pneumonia. From radiation therapy to clinical trials to check-ins with your doctor, your care is made as convenient as possible. They will offer you a nicotine replacement therapy to make you more comfortable while you’re in the hospital. You will have a breathing tube in temporarily and one to two chest tubes which will be removed in the first several days. Your chest may be sore where the doctor made the incisions and put in the surgical tools. Taking a warm shower is relaxing and can help decrease muscle aches. You will have stitches or staples in the incisions. But you probably will need to take it easy at home for at least 1 to 2 weeks. Drink liquids to help keep your mucus thin and easy to cough up. This will help you know if there are any changes later. Your doctor will talk with you if you need to stay in the hospital longer than planned. When is my first appointment after my surgery? The consultant surgeon will check your wounds and assess how well you are managing.

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