Pain after robotic assisted lobectomy: How long does it last?

Posted by pat3017a @pat3017a, Nov 27, 2021

I had a robotic assisted lobectomy about 5 weeks ago and still experiencing pain. Seems like there has been very little improvement in past couple of weeks although incisions look great. The pain is mostly when I am moving and at night when trying to get comfortable in bed. Just wondering how long others had pain after this type of surgery? I feel bad even asking this as so many people have went through so much more in their cancer journey than I have. I know I should feel fortunate.

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@pat3017a

Hi Colleen,

Thanks for your reply. I have NSCLC, stage 1A. I was fortunate it was caught before I had any symptoms.

I know it has only been 5 weeks, just seems I was really doing well in my recovery the first few weeks and now, very little difference in the pain level the last couple weeks.

Always great to hear others experiences.

Thank you,
Patti

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I have been diagnosed with stage 1 lung cancer in left lower lobe, following results of a PET scan. I am to be scheduled for a lobectomy to the left lower lobe. I am wondering how long the surgery took, and how many days in the hospital. Also, I have been physically active most of my life and am also concerned that I may lose significant physical capacity. I appreciate any info from others who have undergone this surgery. It is considered curative, and I feel fortunate it was caught early.

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@collage

I have been diagnosed with stage 1 lung cancer in left lower lobe, following results of a PET scan. I am to be scheduled for a lobectomy to the left lower lobe. I am wondering how long the surgery took, and how many days in the hospital. Also, I have been physically active most of my life and am also concerned that I may lose significant physical capacity. I appreciate any info from others who have undergone this surgery. It is considered curative, and I feel fortunate it was caught early.

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Good Morning,

My cancer was also in the left lower lobe, 18mm nodule. My surgery was 5 weeks ago today and I am doing well. I still have some pain but I think that is to be expected a while longer from what I have read. I have no shortness of breath and have returned to work. I have an office job so that makes it a little easier. My surgery was robotic assisted lobectomy and took about 3 hours and 45 minutes. I was in the hospital for 2 nights. I really didn’t feel ready to go home when they released me but have to admit once I got home, it was much better than being in the hospital.

Wishing you well!!

Patti

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@pat3017a

Good Morning,

My cancer was also in the left lower lobe, 18mm nodule. My surgery was 5 weeks ago today and I am doing well. I still have some pain but I think that is to be expected a while longer from what I have read. I have no shortness of breath and have returned to work. I have an office job so that makes it a little easier. My surgery was robotic assisted lobectomy and took about 3 hours and 45 minutes. I was in the hospital for 2 nights. I really didn’t feel ready to go home when they released me but have to admit once I got home, it was much better than being in the hospital.

Wishing you well!!

Patti

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Thank you for your response. You may already have replied to this question, but did you need to undergo physical therapy……I am told that there may be a need for that with the left arm?

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Nothing was mentioned to me about PT. I am not having any problems with my left arm.

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@stanleykent

Patti, My lobectomy was the upper right and was a Video assisted (VATS) procedure and you said your surgery was robotic. With respect to trauma to the body and recovery, I do not know if one procedure differs from the other. And also wonder if one particular lobe removed is more or less traumatic than another. I do know that one of my three incisions was much larger than the other two and hurt for a much longer period of time. I did have a shallow cough for a couple months and coughing hurts. But overall, recovery and pain is a slow and gradual process. I don't believe I will ever be my old self. This is my new normal. After two years I still have a tiny bit of chest discomfort when taking in a real deep breath and the nerves around the incisions are still tingling and a bit oversensitive. (But those now are totally overshadowed by the surgery I had on Monday. )
I do think I should have exercised more and kept my heart in shape. After a year, I seemed to be short of breath. And yes, I had less lung capacity, but cardiac testing showed my heart was fine but was in need of a better exercise routine. Hope this helps and best wishes to your continued recovery. . Thanks

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I had similar issues. I had VAT surgery on right lung, but they did a wedge, and they did not need to remove entire lobe. 1) One of my incisions was longer to heal. 2) I had a shallow cough in the beginning and noticed in the fifth week that I had felt better the fourth week from surgery AND my cough had become congested. I then tested positive for Covid!!! They gave me anti-viral, and my cough immediately started to improve. My cough dried up and slowly went away. 3)I had nerve/rib pain for two months which is now gone, but I do have a soreness down the middle when I take a deep breathe 4) I got told to exercise and have started walking every day and it makes me feel better, my lungs seem clearer 5) I continue to have labored/shortness of breath, especially under exertion and wearing a mask. However, I have severe coronary artery blockage which may be responsible for my shortness of breath and am scheduled for procedure to measure and put stent. After which I intend to do something fun and be normal. I consider myself lucky that these things can be fixed.

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I wish I would have started a journal 5 years ago when this whole thing started. I know the pain after my left upper lobe was removed I had pain for quite sometime, but it's been fine for a long time now. I feel a catch in there every now and again, but nothing like it first was. I wish you the best in your healing and in your journey. Just an FYI -( I was not at the Mayo at that time) My oncologist suggested there was no need for any further treatment, but a year later I was diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer. Be vigilant.

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@cindyjk

I wish I would have started a journal 5 years ago when this whole thing started. I know the pain after my left upper lobe was removed I had pain for quite sometime, but it's been fine for a long time now. I feel a catch in there every now and again, but nothing like it first was. I wish you the best in your healing and in your journey. Just an FYI -( I was not at the Mayo at that time) My oncologist suggested there was no need for any further treatment, but a year later I was diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer. Be vigilant.

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@cindyjk– Welcome Cindy to our wonderful group of Lung Cancer survivors! I can't imagine an oncologist or thoracic surgeon ever telling a lung cancer patient that they didn't need to have a follow-up CT scan at least once a year for life! That's right for life. Just because a tumor is small and chemo is done or you docn't need chemo doesn't mean that there isn't a chance that you won't have another. As the saying goes, "if you have lungs you can get lung cancer" even a second one, etc.

I have multifocal adenocarcinoma of the lung. This means that my lesions are all primary cancers and I can have more than one at a time. Sometimes they come and go. Right now I have a lesion that will need to be zapped by SBRT and it will be my 6th cancerous tumor. I have had 2 lobectomies and 2 SBRTs. My second lobectomy in my left upper lobe held 3 primary tumors, all of them were different sizes and different stages of growth.

If a doctor tells you not to worry about follow-up CT scans go to another doctor.

I am sorry that you had to go through this unnecessarily.

Let's talk about pain for a minute. For the most part, a lobectomy will usually cause pain when you are healing. However, it will depend of course on your surgeon and which one is being removed. A lobe is attached to your chest wall and when the connection is severed it alters your chest cavity, nerves, muscles, etc. After my first cancer that removed my lower right lobe, I had a painful muscle cramp that came and went whenever it wanted to!

Major chest surgery is lessened with the less disturbance possible. BUT it also depends on the person and many other factors. Recovering from lung cancer takes a while. You will be very tired and need to rest and will, at least, be uncomfortable. It will also depend on how well you heal and what steps you take to help your recovery. As a patient, it is up to all of us to be hands-on patients! It is my opinion that since it is our bodies we are responsible for their well-being and must take full responsibility for helping them heal when its injured or ill.

Now I can get off of my soapbox and ask, Cindy how you are doing? What stage of treatment are you in? I wish that I could give you a hug!

Merry

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@collage

I have been diagnosed with stage 1 lung cancer in left lower lobe, following results of a PET scan. I am to be scheduled for a lobectomy to the left lower lobe. I am wondering how long the surgery took, and how many days in the hospital. Also, I have been physically active most of my life and am also concerned that I may lose significant physical capacity. I appreciate any info from others who have undergone this surgery. It is considered curative, and I feel fortunate it was caught early.

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@collage– Welcome to our lung cancer group. For my second lobectomy, I left after my second night and wished that I had stayed one more night. But no, I had to go home! I think that the length of time for surgery depends on the lobe. We have three in the right lobe and two in the left lung. It depends on if you are having open chest surgery or VATS. Either can take up to 6 hours, but the longer times are due to complications.

You are very lucky that your lung cancer was caught early and being in good health and have been physically active will serve you well. You will lose some capacity for a while but will most likely get most of it back. Please read my response to @cindyjk above and others.

Recovery depends on you and how quickly you heal and if there are any complications. When is your surgery?

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