What To Expect

Thoracotomy is surgery used to diagnose and treat certain lung problems. The surgeon makes a cut (incision) through the skin, usually between the ribs, and then through the lining around the lungs.

He or she may take a sample of lung tissue (biopsy). Or the surgeon may take out a tumor or mass, or part or all of a lung. Sometimes surgeons use thoracotomy to operate on the esophagus or for certain heart procedures.

  • When the procedure is finished, one or more tubes are placed in the chest temporarily to drain fluid and air.
  • The rib cage is then repaired. The muscle and skin are closed with sutures or staples.
  • You will wake up in a recovery area, or sometimes in the intensive care unit.
  • Your breathing tube is generally taken out before or just after you wake up.


  • For All Surgeries
    • Please call our office at 4:30pm the day prior to your procedure to obtain your arrival time for the nexdt day. For Monday procedures, please call on the Friday prior to your procedure.
  • UMC
    • You will have a pre-op appointment in outpatient services that will include preop teaching as well as lab work
  • LHH or CMC
    • You will arrive at your respective hospital for pre-op teaching & lab work as determined by our office. Please call our office to obtain that time


  • Pain – use of pain RX encouraged.
  • Take pain Rx prior To pain becoming severe. It is important to “stay ahead “ of the pain.
  • You may supplement your pain rx with ibuprofen. Please call the office for instructions.