Our mission is to improve the lives of lung transplant patients and their families.

The incision

The surgeon will make an incision based upon the type of lung transplant you are having. For a single lung transplant, you will be cut on the coinciding side of your chest or back. For a double lung transplant, you will typically be incised under the breast line, from armpit to armpit, and across the sternum. This is called a clam-shell incision. In rare instances, during heart/lung transplants, the patient’s sternum is sawed in two, opening the chest up vertically for maximum work area. You will be completely sedated for the duration of the surgery, with mechanical ventilation and/or cardiopulmonary bypass to oxygenate your blood.

You will undergo a lung perfusion test before the transplant to assess how well each of your lungs is functioning. In a single lung transplant, your worse lung will be removed. In a double lung transplant, your worse lung will be removed first, followed by your other native lung while your body “lives” off of the newly placed organ.

Once the lungs are in, your sternum will be wired with transverse wiring to reinforce your chest cavity. You will then be sewn up, and the surgeon will staple the outer layer of your skin together. You will still be ventilated, sedated, and heavily medicated during your surgery and immediate recovery. You will be connected to several machines. A patient’s instinct is to pull out tubes and catheters when he or she is sedated, so to prevent you from harming yourself, nurses may gently tie your arms to your bedside until you are fully awake and aware.

related resources

Sign up for updates
Join our community and receive the latest news about lung transplant, including research, inspiring stories, and resources.
Make a donation
Your tax-deductible donation brings us closer to creating a world where all lung transplant patients live long, healthy lives.
The Lung Transplant Foundation is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization.
Provide Website Feedback
Site Design by:
The Design Booth

Disclaimer: This website does not provide medical advice. The information, including but not limited to text, graphics, images, and other material contained on this website are for informational purposes only. No material on this site is intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment before undertaking any new health care regimen. Never disregard any professional medical advice or delay in seeking care because of something you have read on this website.

Terms of Use