After your operation
Breathing and circulation exercises
Following your operation it is important that you do deep breathing exercises. With your shoulders relaxed, take a deep breath in, hold for 1-2 seconds and then let the breath out slowly. This should be done at least five times an hour.
You will be given an incentive Spirometer – a device that helps you expand your lungs and prevents chest infections. Whilst sitting upright, seal your lips around the mouthpiece and inhale slowly lifting the yellow ball inside the device. You will have to do this around ten times every hour. The ward staff and physiotherapists will give you instructions on how to use the device properly.
You should also do exercises to help your circulation and reduce the risk of blood clots. Circle your ankles both ways and then point your toes up towards you and then back down briskly. Doing this simple exercise ten times every hour while in bed or chair will be beneficial until you are walking regularly.
After your surgery, it is important to keep your chest clear by coughing up any phlegm or mucus that is produced by the lungs. This is especially important if you are, or have been a smoker. This will help minimise the chances of you developing a chest infection.
Sometimes, being in pain will prevent you from coughing effectively; so it is vital that your pain is controlled enough to allow you to cough. If the pain is too severe, you must inform the nursing staff who will alter your pain relief medication. Your wound is designed to withstand the pressure of coughing, so don’t worry about doing any damage. It is easier to cough if you sit forward, and if you use a pillow or rolled up towel pressed firmly over the wound to support your coughing muscles.