Pneumonectomy expectations vary from person to person and are largely affected by your age and your overall health. A pneumonectomy may relieve most or all of your symptoms, or you may continue to have problems, like shortness of breath, and need a ventilator to help with breathing. It's important to talk to your doctor about the results of your surgery so that you both have the same pneumonectomy expectations.
There are several things to consider when discussing pneumonectomy expectations with your doctor. Some of these include the pneumonectomy recovery process and how successful the surgery will be in relieving symptoms and removing the cancer.
Your doctors should have done several tests ahead of time to see how safe the surgery will be for you. How well you do after a pneumonectomy also depends on your age and your health. If you have other health problems besides lung cancer, they may make it more difficult for you to get better after having your lung removed.
When you only have one lung, your heart and lung have to work harder to function well. How well your remaining lung works will be a big factor in your recovery after the pneumonectomy surgery. It will affect how long you continue to feel short of breath and how much physical activity you can tolerate.
In some patients, taking out a lung puts too much strain on the heart and causes it to fail. In some cases, this can be fatal. Also, the extra strain on your remaining lung may cause you to need a ventilator to breathe for a long period of time. Because of these factors, it's difficult to predict which people can survive with just one lung after having a pneumonectomy.
After the pneumonectomy, you may still have pain in your chest and shortness of breath. You will have a scar on your side, and it may take several months to heal completely. You may also find that it takes several months to get your strength back. Even after you heal, you will most likely have limits on how much physical activity you can do. You probably won't be able to do as much as you could before.