Lung Transplant Surgery
People with cystic fibrosis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and other serious lung diseases come to UNC Medical Center for a second chance at life. We have performed more than 500 lung transplants since 1989, giving us a depth of expertise and skill. Our surgeons are nationally renowned for their lung transplant capabilities.
As soon as a compatible match becomes available, you will get a call from your transplant coordinator.
Lung Transplant Surgery: What to Expect
A single lung transplant may take up to eight hours. Transplanting two lungs may require 12 hours. Additional time may be necessary if you receive more than one organ, such as a lung and heart.
Depending on your health status, you may remain in our hospital transplant recovery unit for up to three weeks. Specialists with experience in caring for patients after a transplant will monitor your recovery. During this time, you begin taking anti-rejection drugs known as immunosuppressants to keep your body from rejecting the new organ.
After a Lung Transplant
After your surgery, your lung transplant team provides ongoing support to ensure that you and your new lungs stay well. We remain in contact with you and your community doctor. Your follow-up care includes:
- Post-discharge tests: Upon discharge, you must remain close to the hospital for up to three months. You undergo periodic lung function tests to prevent and detect problems before they become serious.
- Rehab: You participate in pulmonary rehabilitation to help rebuild your strength and stamina and improve lung function.
Patient Support Services
Throughout the transplant process, your dedicated patient support team provides care with a personal touch. We help alleviate stress by assisting with accommodations, billing, emotional support and more.