Not smoking before surgery can lower your risk of atelectasis. If you smoke, ask your doctor how far in advance of your surgery you should quit smoking.
After surgery, your doctor may recommend that you take the following steps to fully expand your lungs:
If deep breathing is painful, your doctor may prescribe medicines to control the pain. This can make it easier for you to take deep breaths and fully expand your lungs.
Your doctor also might suggest using positive end-expiratory pressure (PEEP) or continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP). Both devices use mild air pressure to help keep the airways and air sacs open.
Clinical trials are research studies that explore whether a medical strategy, treatment, or device is safe and effective for humans.
The NHLBI updates Health Topics articles on a biennial cycle based on a thorough review of research findings and new literature. The articles also are updated as needed if important new research is published. The date on each Health Topics article reflects when the content was originally posted or last revised.