After surgery it is important to take an active role in your recovery. One way to do so is by doing deep breathing exercises.
Deep breathing keeps your lungs well-inflated and healthy while you heal. Many patients feel weak and sore after surgery, and taking big breaths can be uncomfortable. But if you do not practice deep breathing after surgery, you may develop lung problems, like pneumonia.
A device called an incentive spirometer can help you take deep breaths correctly. If you do not have this device, you can still practice deep breathing on your own.
Kulaylat MN, Dayton MT. Surgical complications. In: Townsend CM, Beauchamp RD, Evers BM, Mattox KL, eds. Sabiston Textbook of Surgery. 19th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2012:chap 13.
Restrepo RD, Wettstein R, Wittnebel L, Tracy M. Incentive spirometry, 2011. Respir Care. 2011;56:1600-1604.
Updated by: John A. Daller, MD, PhD., Department of Surgery, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, Little Rock, Arkansas. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.
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