You will be moved to a regular hospital room when you are doing better. This room is usually in a part of the hospital reserved for people who have had heart and lung surgery. You will still be watched closely, but not as much as you were in the ICU or recovery room. Your family and friends will be able to visit with you here.
Most people stay in the hospital for five to seven days after a pnuemonectomy. However, it's possible that your stay may be longer, depending on how your surgery went and how well you are doing. Your healthcare providers will regularly update you and your family about your recovery.
After your lung is taken out, there will be a space inside your chest where your lung used to be. This space will fill up with fluid over time; the amount of time this takes is different for each person. Because your chest needs to fill with fluid, your surgeon may or may not put a drainage tube in your chest. If there is a chest tube, it will most likely be removed within 24 hours after the pneumonectomy.
Remember that your healthcare team wants you to get better without any problems. So be sure to tell them about anything that doesn't feel normal or "right." It's especially important to tell your healthcare providers if you begin to have trouble breathing. If you do, it may mean that a part of your lung has collapsed and you need additional treatment.
When you leave the hospital, your healthcare team should give you specific instructions for taking care of yourself. These instructions should cover driving, activity level, medications, and other things to watch out for until you are completely well. Your healthcare team should also tell you about any symptoms that mean you need to come back to the hospital.
Remember, you'll need to have someone drive you home from the hospital. And the first follow-up visit with your doctor will be about two to three weeks after you leave the hospital.