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COPD: Lung Surgery Options

Surgery is a choice for a few people with severe COPD. The options include:

  • Bullectomy

  • Endobronchial valve system

  • Lung volume reduction

  • Lung transplant

Healthcare providers performing surgery in operating room.


This may be done on a person with emphysema, a type of COPD. When someone has emphysema, the air sacs (alveoli) in the lungs are enlarged. Bullae are very large air sacs. This surgery removes the bullae. Then it's easier to breathe.

Endobronchial valve system

This is used to treat breathing problems in people with severe emphysema. The system is the first minimally invasive device to treat emphysema available in the U.S. It was approved by the FDA in 2018. It uses 1-way valves to stop air from entering diseased air sacs. And it also allows air in those air sacs to be exhaled. Talk with your healthcare provider to see if this is a choice for you.

Lung volume reduction (LVR) surgery

A part of 1 or both lungs is removed. This creates more space for the healthy parts of the lungs. It's then easier to breathe. 

Lung transplant surgery

One or both unhealthy lungs are removed and replaced with lungs from a donor. Having donor organs available is a big challenge. After a lung transplant, a person must take medicine to prevent the body from rejecting the new lungs. Lung transplants are not advised for most people with COPD. 

Talk with your healthcare provider to see if surgery is a choice for you.

Online Medical Reviewer: Allen J Blaivas DO
Online Medical Reviewer: Daphne Pierce-Smith RN MSN
Online Medical Reviewer: Ronald Karlin MD
Date Last Reviewed: 11/1/2021
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