Side-effects After Lung Cancer Surgery

The University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing
Last Modified: May 8, 2013


What side effects will I experience after surgery to remove part of my lung?


Taine Pechet, MD, Thoracic Surgeon at Penn Medicine, responds:

Side effects after surgery depend, among other things, on how much lung is removed, how the operation is performed, a given patient's preoperative condition and lung function, as well as any underlying diseases. Most side effects are short lived and are not a factor after a few weeks of recovery. One of the most common toxicities, for instance, is abnormal heart rhythms, which occur 25-50% of the time. In about 90% of people, it resolves shortly after surgery. Other side effects can include risks of bleeding, infection, pneumonia, respiratory compromise or trouble with breathing, and clots in the legs or lungs. One of the most important things to consider is breathing capacity after surgery. This will be a big part of determining what amount of lung can be removed.

This question and answer was part of the OncoLink Brown Bag Chat Series. View the entire Focus on Lung Cancer transcript.


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