Professor Donna Eaton, Consultant Thoracic Surgeon
Before your surgery
You will meet Professor Eaton in her clinic for a review. Depending on your clinical status, you may have already had scans such as CT/PET, a percutaneous biopsy, bronchoscopy, PFTs (breathing test)
If surgery is required, we will check your insurance cover (where applicable) and book you in to either the Mater University Hospital, Mater Private, Beacon Hospital or Blackrock Clinic
You may be required to come into the hospital a few days before your surgery to attend the ‘Pre-admission clinic’ where they will take your bloods, ECG (rhythm of your heart) and chest x-ray
Coming into hospital
It is routine for you to either come into hospital the night before surgery or on the day itself
We ask that you bring in a list of your current medications. Most importantly, we must be made aware if you are on any blood thinning medication at least 7 days prior to surgery
You will have been given fasting instructions prior to admission and be advised on estimated length of stay
Whether you are a day case or staying over night, we advise you to pack a suitable bag with pyjamas, toiletries and slippers. If you are staying in for more than one night you will be working with the physiotherapy team, so we recommend you to pack comfortable clothing and runners
During your stay
On your first day in hospital, a member of the team will examine you and ask questions about your medical history. He or she will discuss with you the specific type of surgery planned and ask you to sign a consent form. This form records that you understand the surgery and agree to go ahead with it. If you have any questions, please ask.
We will ask you to take a shower and put on a clean hospital gown. We will also provide you with compression stockings to help prevent blood clots developing during and after surgery.
A specialist doctor called an anaesthetist, will visit you to discuss your medical history, what will happen to you in the anaesthetic room and the risks to you of having a general anaesthetic. He or she will also plan your care immediately after the surgery, including pain relief and your recovery.
The team will advise you and your family how long you are expected to be in theatre for. You will spend some time in recovery following the surgery before returning to either ICU or the ward.
Initial recovery will involve pain relief, working with physiotherapy and if required, we can support you with a dietitian, occupational therapist or social worker, in order to get you to optimal health
You may have a chest drain inserted following your surgery. This is required to remove fluid and air from your chest and help your lungs to re-inflate. The drain is a one-way system that prevents fluid and air from returning to the chest. Chest drains will be removed after they have finished draining fluid and air. This usually takes a few days. The team will educate you on how to manage the drain.
You may require chest x-rays before you are discharged, this is normal. Your wounds will be checked daily and your pain (if any) will be well controlled.
When you leave hospital
You should arrange a family member or friend to collect you on day of discharge
We will advise on your stitches (where applicable) whether they will dissolve or need to be removed by your GP in 10 days time
A prescription for medication will be given that you must collect from your pharmacy on the day of discharge
The pharmacist will give you enough medication for the first 1-2 weeks. You can arrange a repeat prescription from your GP if needed. You should take your pain medication as prescribed for the length of your recovery
When you go home, your wounds should be clean and dry. If a wound dressing is still needed after you leave hospital, we will arrange for a public health nurse, or your GP practice nurse, to change your dressing and check your wound
When you are back at home, it is very important that you continue to exercise as shown by your physiotherapist
An outpatient appointment will usually be two weeks after your surgery. Professor Eaton’s secretary will contact you with date/ time/ location details. You may require to have a further chest x-ray on arrival. Professor Eaton will go through your results, look at your x-ray, check your wound and go through your general recovery at this appointment