Thoracotomy: Your Home Recovery
For the first several weeks after your surgery, you'll be gaining a little more energy and strength each day. Breathing may be uncomfortable at first, and you may be short of breath. Take things slowly, and rest when you get tired. Your doctor or nurse can talk to you about what you can and can't do as you recover.
Caring for Your Incision
Your doctor will tell you when it's okay to shower. When you shower, wash your incision gently with warm (not hot) water and mild soap. Bruising, itchiness, soreness, and numbness at your incision site are normal for several weeks after surgery.
Take your pain medications regularly as your doctor instructs—don't wait until the pain gets bad before you take them. In addition to medication for pain, your doctor may prescribe other medications. Oxygen may also be prescribed.
Easing into Activity
When to Call Your Doctor
Draining or very red incision
Sudden, severe shortness of breath
Sudden, sharp chest pain
Rapid heartbeat or "fluttering" in your chest