You can be called into the hospital for the transplant at any time. When the call comes, you will proceed to the Intensive Critical Care Unit (ICC) to prepare for surgery. Then you will be transferred to the operating room.
The surgery takes from six to 10 hours, depending on medical conditions. After surgery, you will go back to the ICC. From there, your are transferred to the cardiothoracic nursing unit, depending on your condition. The expected length of stay for an uncomplicated lung transplant is eight to 21 days.
If you are having a single lung transplant, the incision will be made on your side, either right or left, about six inches below your armpit. Your old lung will be removed through this opening and the new lung will be implanted. In the case of a double lung transplant, the incision will run across the lower part of your chest. The lung, whether single or double, is connected to the pulmonary artery, pulmonary veins and the main stem bronchus or airway. The incisions will be uncomfortable and will take several weeks to heal.
UCSF Health medical specialists have reviewed this information. It is for educational purposes only and is not intended to replace the advice of your doctor or other health care provider. We encourage you to discuss any questions or concerns you may have with your provider.