Pneumonectomy is simply the surgical removal of lungs because of cancer, trauma, or some other condition.

You have two lungs: a right lung and a left lung. These lungs connect to your mouth through a series of tubes. Through these tubes, the lungs bring oxygen into the body and remove carbon dioxide from the body. Oxygen is necessary for all functions of your body.

Carbon dioxide is a waste product that the body needs to get rid of. Most people can get by with only one lung instead of two, if needed. Usually, one lung can provide enough oxygen and remove enough carbon dioxide, unless the other lung is damaged.

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During a pneumonectomy, the surgeon makes a cut (incision) on the side of your body. The surgeon cuts some muscle and spreads the ribs apart. He or she surgically removes the affected lung. The sac that contained the lung (pleural space) fills up with air. Eventually, fluid takes the place of this air.

Findings suggest that avoiding the supine positioning after pneumonectomy may facilitate improvements in hemodynamics and a decreased risk of hypoxemia. The optimal position for gas exchange after pneumonectomy is a lateral position, with the remaining lung in the uppermost position.
You should also take this post-operative care serious

  • High Fowler’s position (sitting upright with a 60-to-90-degree flexion at the hips)
  • Do not roll onto the side of the intact lung.
  • If right pneumonectomy then NGT on free drainage
  • Supportive care and monitoring (e.g. analgesia, physiotherapy)

However, this complex procedure requires a surgeon with a great deal of technical skill and experience.

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