Learn more about preparing for thoracic surgery.

Important Do's and Don’ts Before Surgery

Stop Smoking

Smoking irritates your lungs, decreases their efficiency and interferes with your ability to recover from surgery. Each day that you are smoke free will help your lung function improve.You should stop smoking well before surgery.

For more information on smoking cessation programs offered through Massachusetts General Hospital, please call (617) 726-7443.

Continue (or Start) to Exercise

Being active before surgery helps to condition you and often makes you feel better. If you have an exercise program or are participating in a rehabilitation program, please continue this.

If you have been very sedentary, try adding little pieces of activity to your day. Even increasing your level of simple activities of daily living can help. Take a short walk. Vacuum the house. Climb the stairs. Every little bit helps.

Do Breathing Exercises

Breathing exercises will be very important after surgery and can also be a good relaxation technique. If you are coughing up mucus (phlegm) before your surgery, deep breathing and coughing exercises are usually helpful.

If You Are Unwell

If you have a fever or are sick, contact your thoracic surgeon’s office to decide if the surgery needs to be postponed.

The Day Before Surgery
On the day before your procedure:

  • Try to spend a relaxing evening at home and get a good night’s sleep. Patients often find it helpful to listen to soft music, take a warm shower, read, or participate in other calming activities.
  • Do not eat anything after 10:00 pm, including mints, chewing gum, etc.

The Day of Surgery

  • Take all of your heart medications with just a sip of water, unless otherwise directed by your physician.
  • If you are a diabetic, do not take your insulin unless instructed to do so.
  • Bring your own comfortable slippers or walking shoes and personal toilet articles.
  • Please leave all valuables such as watches and necklaces at home.

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