A chest tube is a flexible tube that’s placed between your ribs, into your pleural space. Your pleural space is the space between the inner and outer linings of your lungs. The chest tube will drain extra air, extra fluid, or both from your pleural space into a collection device (large plastic container).

During this procedure, your healthcare provider will keep track of your vital signs (heart rate, blood pressure, temperature, and breathing rate) and oxygen levels. You can learn more about this tube placement procedure from centese.com/thoracic-surgery/.

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It’s important that your chest tube doesn’t twist or bend so that it can drain the right way. Keep the collection device upright and below your chest. This will help your tube to drain.

You can sit up, lay down, and walk around while you have your chest tube. Make sure you don’t pull on your tube when you move around or walk. Your healthcare provider will help you move around if needed.

You may feel some discomfort or pain once the local anesthetic wears off. If you do, tell your healthcare provider. They’ll check your chest tube and give you pain medication as needed.

Your healthcare provider will keep track of how much air, fluid, or both is coming from your chest tube during your hospital stay. You’ll also have chest x-rays to check how well your tube is working.