How is atelectasis treated?

Most cases of atelectasis get better without treatment. Your doctor will watch you carefully and advise you if you need to rest or make other changes until the lung re-inflates.

Treatment for more severe cases depends on the cause and extent of the collapse. The most common causes of atelectasis and their treatments include:

  • Surgery: Nurses or respiratory therapists will guide you in breathing exercises and sitting or standing upright as soon as possible after surgery.
  • Chest pressure: Using surgery or medicine, doctors can remove the source of the pressure.
  • Blocked airway: Usually, during a bronchoscopy, doctors will remove the blockage so you can breathe freely again.
  • Lung condition: Doctors may treat the condition with medicine or a procedure to relieve pressure on your lung.

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