Recovery at the transplant centre

Find out what to expect after lung transplant surgery and when you can go home

Key points

  • You can expect to be in hospital for 14-21 days
  • Your transplanted lung should usually start working within a few hours after the operation
  • You will feel sore for a few days after the surgery and need strong painkillers
  • You will go home with new medicines, including powerful immunosuppressants to help prevent rejection

How long will you stay in hospital?

You can expect to be in hospital for 14-21 days after a lung transplant. The first 1-3 days are spent in the intensive care unit to allow the extensive monitoring that is required. If you are recovering well from the surgery the transplant team will be happy for you to be discharged home.

What to expect in the first few days after surgery

What happens next?

More information

Medical terms explained


Immunosuppressants are powerful medicines that weaken your immune system to prevent it attacking your new organ.

Intravenous drip

Also known as an IV drip. This is when a tube is placed into your vein so liquids, such as fluid or medicine, can be delivered directly into your bloodstream.

Over-the-counter medicines

This refers to any medicine you can buy without a prescription, for example in a pharmacy, supermarket or online. It includes paracetamol and ibuprofen.


Rejection is when your immune system starts to attack your transplanted organ because it doesn’t recognise it.


View all medical terms


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