Possible complications of thoracic surgery apply to lobectomy
In addition the following are risks of lobectomy:
Minor more common risks
Air leaking from the lung into the chest drain for a few days is common after lung surgery. Occasionally this lasts for longer, possibly weeks. A chest drain will need to be in place until this settles, you may be able to go home with the chest drain still in and come back for regular check-ups until the air leak settles.
Your kidneys may not work as well after surgery but this is usually temporary and gets better with extra fluid.
Major less common risks
Some people are more short of breath after surgery. Part of your preop assessment is assessing your risk of being breathless after surgery. If you already have lung disease there is a higher risk of being breathless, including needing to have oxygen at home.
Shortness of breath may severe enough to require help from a ventilator machine. This can be with a face mask with you fully awake. It may also be need via a tube in your windpipe with you under sedation. If you need help breathing via a tube for a long time it may be better to have a temporary tracheostomy. This is a tube put in through the neck which is removed once breathing improves.
A hole may form near the staples (bronchopleural fistula), this is usually only happens with an infection. It causes air to keep coming out of the lung but can be difficult to diagnose. You may need antibiotics and another operation to fix the hole.
Fatty fluid may collect in the chest (chyle leak), it is rare. You may require a temporary change in diet, a chest drain or another operation to treat this.
Nationally 98 in 100 people are alive 1 month after surgery and 2 people die. Your individual risk may be higher or lower depending on your health.