In this practice, the use of suction is common during the immediate post-operative period. During this time, forceful coughing may be difficult and there may be a degree of general deconditioning that occurs in the days immediately following your surgery. For this reason, suction is often helpful.
It is, however, very important to begin to learn to cough and clear your secretions without the use of suction. Many patients often believe they will require the use of suction the rest of their life, although this is not true. In fact, in most cases, we discourage the use of suction once there has been adequate post-operative recuperation. The SLP staff will reinforce this concept, and help to wean you from the use of suction, if necessary.
A forceful, effective cough serves to help clear secretions that are lower in the air passages of the lungs. When a person uses suction to clear secretions, there is typically not the same force applied during coughing. The deeper secretions are not as effectively cleared, may accumulate, and ultimately prove to be more difficult to clear. It is very important you begin to learn to clear your secretions without the help of suction. There are cases, however, where prolonged suction use may be necessary and those cases are managed individually.
Updated Oct 18, 2013
Copyright 2011-2013 Katrina M. Jensen, M.A., CCC-SLP, PLLC