Several illnesses such as lung cancer and lung infections, can permanently damage the lungs. When such situations occur a lung, transplant becomes inevitable. Single or double lung transplants are done depending on the need. This is a frequently performed procedure in India, where doctors have performed lung transplants on new-borns as well for adults as old as 65 years.
Dr. Madhu Sankar, Cardiothoracic Surgeon is credited with the first lung transplantation in India. Among the popular lung transplant hospitals in India, most of them are situated down South. Between 2013-2015 a total of 75 lung transplantations were carried out in South India.
Here are some of the important queries answered for someone going in for a lung transplant:
What happens before the surgery?
You will be cross-matched with the donor to ensure that the results are compatible enough for a successful transplant.
You will be undergoing a lot of tests including psychological ones to make sure that you are in your best physical and mental health.
The series of tests include – x-ray of the chest, electrocardiogram and blood tests which will finally be reviewed and approved by the doctor.
The surgery will be cancelled if you are found to be suffering of illnesses such as sore throat, cold or any other infections.
The prep before the surgery will include removal of hair from the area of incision and insertion of intravenous tube. You might also be given a sedative to help you relax.
What will be the duration of the surgery?
The transplant procedure would last as long as six hours. Your family members can wait in the lounge till the procedure gets over. All the necessary contact details of your family will be collected so that in case of any emergency they can be contacted. During the surgery someone from the team will periodically keep your family updated about the progress of the transplant. Once you are moved to the post-op, your family will be informed.
Are there any risks during the transplant?
Every surgery includes a certain degree of risk and it is same with a lung transplant. Your team of doctors will communicate about all the potential risks and benefits to you before the surgery.
What happens soon after the surgery?
Soon after the surgery you will be moved to the ICU and afterwards you will be moved to the transplant unit. All the staff members in the transplant unit are trained and have sufficient experience in attending to the needs of a lung transplant patient.
India comparatively has a short waiting period for such transplants and hence medical tourism has boomed in India for the very same reason.