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How should I do breathing exercises after thoracic surgery?

Breathing exercises after thoracic surgery are usually done with incentive spirometry. It’s sucking in, not blowing out. There’s a little caliper to show you how hard you’re sucking in. You need to continue to maintain that number or make it bigger. It’s not a speed thing, it’s more about endurance. You need to be taking big, deep inhalations. You should see that number getting bigger every day.

Dr. Daniel P. O'Hair, MD
Cardiothoracic Surgeon

Breathing exercises are important to help expand your lungs after thoracic surgery. Inhale slowly through your nose and then slowly blow out as much air as you can through your mouth.

  1. Place your hands on your lower rib cage and feel your lower ribs expand as you inhale and then sink as you exhale.
  2. Place your right hand on your right lower rib cage. Concentrate on expanding only that side when you inhale. Repeat with the left side. Do the exercise in a sitting position and lying on each side.
  3. Place your hands on your upper abdomen. Feel your waist expand as you inhale and feel your abdomen pull in as you exhale.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.