In this video we explain what thoraco-abdominal surgeries are. You will be able to know who is prone to have this type of intervention. We also give you some advice for the pre-surgery and post-surgery phase.


This type of surgery is performed as a solution to various dysfunctions, pathologies or accidents affecting structures or organs. Among these organs we find the stomach, heart, lungs, intestines, spleen, etc. All of them are lodged inside the thoracic and/or abdominal cavity.

The pre-surgery process is very important. A good previous rehabilitationwill be of great help to face the post-surgery one. In this way, we will avoid general complications, infections, atelectasias, bronchial aspirations, etc.

If the surgery is scheduled, the intervention of the physiotherapist will be based on two fundamental aspects: the evaluation of the physical and respiratory aptitudes.

The respiratory evaluation will provide objective data on respiratory mechanics (tendency to thoracic or abdominal breathing), muscular strength of the respiratory muscles, etc.

The aim of the presurgery work is to focus on self-knowledge of breathing. To differentiate between thoracic or abdominal breathing and to strengthen weak muscles. In addition, the patient must be taught basic care.

Post-surgery stage

They are usually accompanied by fluid drainagetubes coming from one of the two cavities (Thoracic and/or abdominal). They also usually have sutures in the rib cage, sternocostal zone and abdominal wall.

This usually generates pain and increased pulmonary secretions that often lead to a series of respiratory complications.

Alterations are produced in the pulmonary volumesand this leads to :

  • Alterations in respiratory mechanics.
  • Alterations in the respiratory pattern.
  • Alteration in the gas exchange.
  • Alteration in the defence mechanisms.
  • Diaphragmatic dyskinesia.

The most common are atelectasis (which consists of the collapse of some areas of the respiratory tract) or respiratory infections, among others.

The objective of the post-surgery treatment will be focused on inserting the patient into his or her daily life.

“Respiratory physiotherapy is a right option for pre- and post-operative treatment in this type of surgery”.

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PhysiotherapyTreatment of thoracic and abdominal surgeries