Gullet surgery Oesophagectomy partial right lung collapse and infection

Gullet (oesophagus) cancer

A group for anyone affected by gullet cancer (also known as oesophageal cancer) to get together, ask questions, share experiences and support each other.

Gullet surgery Oesophagectomy partial right lung collapse and infection

No. of entries: 15 | Posted on 04 Jul 2010 04:54
  •  Hi,

    This site is rather confusing! My husband had surgery on Tuesday 29th June 2010. He had a 3-stage Oesophagectomy, lymphadenectomy and roux-en-Y.

    The operation went very went which obviously is good.

    He was taken off the ventilator the day after surgery but got very hot and distressed. He was talking to me, and told me he had shoulder pain and felt *********** terrible! He was quite "with it" but his breathing got worse and he was put back on a ventilator on Thursday and is still on the ventilator today (Sunday) He appears to have a partial right lung collapse and probably a infection. They hope to bring him off the ventilator everyday but he gets too distressed when they try.

     I don't even quite know why I'm posting here as there aren't really any answers I don't think. The doctors have been great. One spoke to me for 20 minutes on Friday and explained everything to me. They've done a CTscan and they are treating him with antibotics etc.


    Has anyone had a similar situation after surgery?


    Best Wishes to you all!!

    Samantha x

  • Hi Samantha

    Welcome to the group where there are several people here who have had various forms of surgery for oesophageal cancer, myself included.  (If you click on their photos you can read people’s profiles.)

    Part of the surgical procedure involves deflating a lung, and whilst it’s unfortunate for the lung to collapse again afterwards, it does happen sometimes and the possibility for lung infections is also fairly common.  The doctors will be monitoring your husband very closely, so I’m sure he’s in excellent hands.  At this stage, he shouldn’t be feeling too much pain because of the epidural, so if he does he should mention this to the nurses who are in charge of the pain management, which includes the epidural, morphine and any other meds.  Sometimes, infection coupled with any discomfort, pain and fear can cause distress, so it’s very important to reassure your husband as much as possible.  It’s quite a frightening situation feeling that you can’t draw a breath properly, and because the ribs were either spread open or cut during surgery, it’s also painful.  I’ve spoken to a few people that have been through similar, and one who had very severe complications, all of whom are doing well now. 

    The shoulder pain is also quite a common side effect and can continue for quite a long time.  It could be attributed to the position during surgery, or to possible slight nerve damage.  However, this nearly always improves and disappears in time.  Hopefully, day by day with your encouragement, your husband will become stronger and more confident. 

    Recovery from this surgery is a long road, as no doubt you’ve already seen from some of the discussions here.  The main thing is to take each day as it comes, as there will be great strides forward and days where there are backward steps.

    Keep posting and let us know how your husband gets on.

    All the very best and I hope your husband begins to make a good recovery very soon.



  • Hi Samantha

    I can’t say that I know too much about the 3-stage Oesophagectomy, lymphadenectomy and roux-en, except I believe it is practiced more in Japan, however like Crystal I have undergone the Ivor Lewis and am doing quite well now, pulmonary problems are well known after this type of operation due to the extended lung collapse; I was taken off the ventilator without incident but did suffer a lung infection which was also managed by antibiotics, my right lung was very problematic for a long time after the operation but fortunately has now resolved itself. Just as Crystal has said it is a long road ahead, just remember time is your best friend the greater the distance from this operation the better and this is very early days.

    Take care,


  • Thank you SO much for your reply. It bought a tear to my eye, as I can really feel the wave of support and good wishes.

    I went to see my husband just now in intensive care and he's sedated still and on the ventilator. He looked better than he did yesterday, he seemed more comfortable and his colour was better.

    Hopefully he will come off the ventilator soon and I can get back to supporting him and giving him lots of love and encouragement! 

    Thankyou again for your message and I will keep you informed.

    Lots Of very best wishes, Samantha x

  • Thanks Steve too for your reply, I really do feel most grateful for your kind words.

    It is a Japanese way of doing surgery indeed.

    As I said to Crystal I feel better today as he looked more stable and a better colour, even though he's sedated on the ventilator.

    Hopefully he will come off the ventilator soon and I will keep you informed.

    Very very best wishes, and thanks again,


  • Hi Samantha

    So sorry you are here with us but you will (and have already) find lots of support.  My husband was in hospital for 5 weeks after his first op...not sure of staging etc. but it had certainly gone to his lymph nodes and all of his oesophegeous and a third of his stomach was removed.   Infections, pain and so forth were all included in the package.  Each day brings/brough another challenge but the main thing is that your husband's come through the major surgery and he has you as support.

    You will find the strength to keep going....strength you didn't know you had.

    A big hug and best wishes to you both

    Sue x

  • Do tell us how the cyberknife has gone so far, and good luck for tommorow..


    Sue, Thankyou SO much.

    Hugs and best wishes to you,

    Samantha x

  • Hi Samantha,

    So sorry you've had to find your way here, but it's the place to come for knowledge & support. I echo Sue's words in that you will find strength you didn't know you had. It is a long, sometimes bumpy road, but the hope for a happy ending is what keeps us all going.

    My husband was diagnosed at 52, he had a "minimally invasive" oesophagectomy which took about ten hours, was in ICU for five weeks, in hospital for a total of nine but we got through it & are still going! Be prepared for ups and downs plus a handful of unforeseen problems & come on here if you have any queries, worries, moans, rants...someone will give you an answer!

    Wishing you & your hubby all the best,

    Liz xxx





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