Physiotherapy after lung surgery

The physiotherapy of a patient scheduled for elective lung surgery begins even before the surgery, when the patient’s baseline situation is established by interviewing them and performing appropriate measurements and investigations.

The physiotherapist instructs the patient in post-surgery issues relevant to rehabilitation. With the patient’s approval, a relative or close friend may accompany them to these appointments.

Rehabilitation starts immediately after surgery, initially assisted. The patient’s own role grows gradually. The rehabilitation starts in the ward post-surgery and continues at a rehabilitation unit, if necessary, and ultimately at home.

The patient benefits from becoming mobile early. Getting mobile while in hospital is good medicine. Being upright and mobile are encouraged and gradually increased as the rehabilitation progresses. After anaesthesia and bed rest, getting up early and increased breathing help the patient recover from surgery and prevent post-operative complications.

The patient is instructed to do breathing exercises with a training device to ventilate the lungs on the first day following the surgery, and the practice continues during the hospital stay and for a few weeks at home during the patient’s convalescence. Each patient is given the most appropriate exercises to do, based on their circumstances.

Upper body and limbs are kept supple by suitable exercise while in hospital. Appropriate pain relief will ensure a speedy recovery. Post-surgery, the patient should ensure that their posture is relaxed and symmetrical.

The physiotherapist and nursing staff instruct each patient individually about self-care after their operation.

If appropriate, the patient is offered further physiotherapy (by occupational health, health centre, regional hospital, or private clinic), or other support to maintain their mobility and functional capacity.