How should I care for my incision after thoracic surgery?

Francis X. Downey, MD
Thoracic Surgery (Cardiothoracic Vascular)
Follow these general incision care instructions at home to avoid complications and to allow for a speedy recovery after thoracic surgery:
  • Keep your incision clean and dry.
  • You can shower immediately after surgery. Wash your incisions with soap and water, and pat dry.
  • No baths or swimming for two weeks after the chest tube is removed.
  • No dressing is required over the chest tube site unless there is drainage. If a dressing is required, change it daily or as needed. Discontinue the dressing once the drainage stops. If a suture is left at the chest tube site, it will be removed at your next doctor visit (10 to 14 days after your discharge from the hospital).

Continue Learning about Treatment Of Breathing Disorders

What should I know about nasal strips before using them?
Stacy Wiegman, PharmDStacy Wiegman, PharmD
Nasal strips are adhesive bandages that attach to the outside of your nose in order to open your nas...
More Answers
How is video-assisted thoracic surgery used for a collapsed lung?
Lyall A. Gorenstein, MDLyall A. Gorenstein, MD
Video-assisted thoracic surgery affords better visualization of the entire lung surface in patie...
More Answers
Who should not use nasal strips?
Stacy Wiegman, PharmDStacy Wiegman, PharmD
Nasal strips should not be used by children five years of age or younger. Also, if you have a latex ...
More Answers
Exercise Tips for People With COPD and Asthma
Exercise Tips for People With COPD and Asthma

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.