Lung Transplant Surgery and Recovery

During the transplant, your surgical team puts you under general anesthesia before removing the more diseased lung through an incision in your chest, side, or armpit. The surgeon then places the healthy, carefully evaluated donor lung into your chest cavity and attaches it to the trachea and appropriate blood vessels.

The transplant surgery typically takes four to eight hours. Most patients spend one to three weeks in the hospital, depending on how quickly they can breathe properly without assistance and recover overall.

Lung transplant recipients must take immunosuppressing medications for the rest of their lives, exercise regularly and eat a healthful diet, forego smoking and alcohol, and see their transplant team regularly.

Many patients can return to normal, active lives within six to 12 months after lung transplantation.