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Deep Breathing and Coughing 

After surgery, there is a risk of developing lung problems. You aren’t likely to be as active after surgery, which can limit the amount of oxygen you bring in, and how deeply you breathe. Also, many surgical anesthetics can weaken your breathing immediately after surgery. This can result in a loss of lung capacity, and mucus building up.  If you don’t work on taking deep breaths and coughing, you may be at risk of developing pneumonia. Deep breathing and coughing exercises will help encourage you to open up your lungs and remove any excess mucus. It can be helpful to practice these exercises before surgery 

Every hour, take 10 deep breaths as described below 

  • Find a comfortable position 

  • Take a deep breath through your nose, feeling your chest expand fully 

  • Hold the breath for 5 seconds 

  • Slowly breathe out through pursed lips, as if you were blowing out a candle 

  • Take rests between breaths if you get lightheaded 


  • Find a comfortable position 

  • Take a few deep breaths to relax 

  • Take a deep breath in, feeling your chest fully expand 

  • Cough firmly, and focus on clearing all the air out of your chest 

  • Use a tissue to clear any mucus in your mouth 

  • Repeat several times, until there is no mucus coming up 

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