Bullectomy and Pleurectomy Surgery - Lung Conditions C...

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Bullectomy and Pleurectomy Surgery

Nelly_123 profile image


It’s been a while since I was on this forum, it’s hope you don’t mind me popping back on for some insight! I hope everyone is done as well as they can, and hope the spring weather is helping us all feel better!

So, I’m due to have a bullectomy and Pleurectomy surgery next Wednesday (27th) and was wondering if anyone has had this done and what your experience was like.

I’ve been told a bed has been booked for me in a cardiothoratic high dependency unit after the surgery, and I’m quite nervous, I know it’s probably normal after this kind of surgery but it’s scary to think of yourself needing that level of care, even if it’s only for a day or two.

I’m not happy about having this done but I think I probably need it. I have severe bullous lung disease and suffered a secondary spontaneous pneumothorax around 5 months ago (and was in hospital for 11 days with a prolonged air leak). Not looking forward to having a chest drain in again, and certainly not looking forward to being away from my kids for 3-5 days or however long I have to be in hospital for.

My constant seems to think I’ll be ok after a couple of weeks, but it took me over a month to fully recover after the pneumothorax, so I don’t think I believe him about 2 weeks recovery from surgery!

So does anyone has experience like this, or VATS surgery in general?

Thanks xx

24 Replies
Damon1864 profile image

I can't answer your question but what I can do is wish you luck and site all will go well. Please let's us know how you are and remember we are all here thinking of you and supporting you. Have a lovely weekend and take care 😊 Bernadette and Jack 🐕 xxxxxx 🌻🌻💖

Nelly_123 profile image
Nelly_123 in reply to Damon1864

Thanks for your well wishes x

Hi Nelly, I can't answer your query either but hopefully someone will be able to.

Post op recovery in a cardiothoracic unit or similar is standard practice now after many surgeries. It's so you get intensive nursing care and are in a unit well equipped to deal with any problems that may arise even if that is unlikely to happen. It is usually for the first 2 or 3 days before transfer to a ward.

I hope that all goes well for you and that you make a good recovery and gradually feel the benefit of the surgery. I would agree that recovery is going to take a lot longer than 2 weeks though. Best wishes x

Nelly_123 profile image
Nelly_123 in reply to CDPO16

Thanks, it’s reassuring to know it’s standard practice and I don’t need to worry unnecessarily when I’m there!

Hope you’re doing well after many surgeries x

CDPO16 profile image
CDPO16 in reply to Nelly_123

I haven't had any surgies Nelly. Hope I didn't imply that I had.

Nelly_123 profile image
Nelly_123 in reply to CDPO16

Whoops, sorry my mistake… think I need another coffee 😂

Hi, I had the VATS procedure last October. I too was told that I would go to HDU but in the end I didn't. I got out of hospital after 3 days but unfortunately the following day I was admitted again for 2 weeks. My CRPs and ESR levels were very high plus I also developed a lasting temp, although nothing showed on the cultures. Although this sounds off-putting, my consultant and surgeon both informed me that my reaction wasn't the norm and could probably be put down to my SLE/scleroderma overlap, which definitely seems more than likely. It is definitely worthwhile having the procedure and if it was required again, I wouldn't hesitate

Nelly_123 profile image
Nelly_123 in reply to CarolMcl

Sorry to hear you bounced back into hospital, but encouraging that you didn’t go to HDU.

Glad you’ve noticed a difference and would have it done again, they want to do my other lung once I’m recovered from this one 😬 x

CarolMcl profile image
CarolMcl in reply to Nelly_123

It's definitely worthwhile getting it checked out to ensure the right course of treatment. The thought of going through with it initially did worry me until my consultant explained that the procedure is minor in the surgeons perspective and not what my imagination was thinking x

Nelly_123 profile image
Nelly_123 in reply to CarolMcl

Very true, it’s easy for your thoughts to run away with themselves. Your right though, they do far more complex procedures.

I’ve had operations before, but not on a major organ, and it’s always been day-case, so this one just feels scarier! Xx

CarolMcl profile image
CarolMcl in reply to Nelly_123

I fully understand that, especially as you say, it being a major organ x

I was placed in intensive care after bypass surgery ( nothing to do with the lungs of course ). It was peopled by lots of kindly nurses quietly going about their business and quite frequent visits from doctors. All very reassuring. One young doctor tried to get me to take a deep breath breath of my normal inhaler. All I could manage was a feeble little puff. 😂 Anyway I was well enough to be sent home 5 days after surgery. I hope you get on as well, but take it easy whenever they let you go. Harder I imagine with children around -tell them you need pampering. xxx

Nelly_123 profile image
Nelly_123 in reply to Alberta56

Thanks for sharing your experience, it helps to hear that it’s nothing to be scared of really, fantastic you got home so soon after being so poorly.

I will take it easy after, I’m lucky I have a husband who will pick up everything I have to drop! The kids are only 6 & 2, but they’re good a hugs 🤗 it’s going to be hard being away from them again xx

Alberta56 profile image
Alberta56 in reply to Nelly_123

Good luck. I'm glad you've got a helpful husband. When i was discharged I was worried about germs. The hospital had placed such emphasis on hygiene that I worried about our house's state of hygiene. Luckily I suppose they were our own germs and therefore friendly.

Nelly_123 profile image
Nelly_123 in reply to Alberta56

I understand the worry of germs, but with 2 young kids and a job in a hospital Microbiology lab I’m afraid I’m around all sorts of germs all the time 😳

I will be careful though, thanks xx

I had a bilateral pluerectomy in my late teen’s, after each of my lungs collapsed within months of each other.I was told at the time that my lungs would not collapse again, it’s 40 plus years later and as far a pneumothorax goes, I have been fine.

I know that surgery has improved and the operation now is far less invasive.

The most important advice that I received from the doctor, was that I would be more prone to infection and that as soon as you get any symptoms get them treated asap.

Best Wishes

Nelly_123 profile image
Nelly_123 in reply to Ortho10

Amazing that you haven’t had another collapse in over 40 years! That’s really encouraging, thanks so much xx

Hi Nelly i had the VATS operation in 2016 after having a spontaneous pneumothorax, the operation failed after only 6 weeks and my lung collapsed again so i had a pleurectomy. The operation is tough . My consultant told me go home and carry on like nothing ever happened but that wasn,t the case for me ,but i know another lady who had the same operation and she sailed through her,s, so everybody is different. Like everybody says the chest drains are actually the worse part. My advice is, as to what i did , get plenty of rest, don,t rush into doing anything silly but when you feel you can start to exercise, start slow and steady and build your strength back up. I started walking a few weeks after rest and started walking a bit further when i felt i could, don,t feel under any pressure by anybody else, only do what you feel able to do and what your body allows and get plenty of rest, i found sleeping propped up helped me. Don,t be worried or nervous about the operation and look after yourself with a healthy diet and exercise when you go home. The doctors and nurses are amazing, and you,ll be looked after brilliantly. XX

Alberta56 profile image
Alberta56 in reply to tavymaid

That's brilliant advice. xx

Nelly_123 profile image
Nelly_123 in reply to tavymaid

Sounds like you had a tough time, two op’s so close to each other can’t have been nice. Thanks for sharing your experience, and your friend’s too, I guess it shows how different we all are. Your consultant sounds like mine, I’m sure he thinks I’ll be back at work within days, but I know it’ll take me longer, it always does! I remember when I was recovering from my pneumothorax sleeping propped definitely helped, thanks for the reminder! And the rest of the advice 😀 xx

tavymaid profile image
tavymaid in reply to Nelly_123

Good luck with your operation😘 it,s tough but like mine has to be done. Be totally selfish and make yourself top priority until you feel better again. Slow and steady wins the race. XX

Every best wish as you go into this stage. I am so glad that some excellent replies have come to you. Take care, rest well and enjoy those hugs from your children.


Thanks for your well wishes, I will enjoy hugging my children afterwards 🤗 xx

So I thought I’d give an update… I was admitted last night and was told I was first on the list. Then this morning I was told they were waiting for a ccu bed to be available, at 3:30 my consultant gave me the option of staying and seeing if they can fit me in tomorrow’s or the next day, or I could go home and have another date sent through. I opted to come home and have a new date after the holiday we have in 4 weeks.

I’m glad to be home but it’s frustrating when you’ve psyched yourself up for surgery, but I can’t moan really as they kept the people safe in ccu who were too sick to move to a ward, and they kept me safe by not operating without a definite ccu bed for me to move to. Hopefully round 2 will be more successful! Xx

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