COPD Treatment: Surgery
Surgery is not often used to treat people with COPD, but some people may benefit from certain procedures.
Surgical Procedures for COPD
Typically, a bullectomy is meant for patients with COPD related to emphysema. When the air sac walls are destroyed, larger air spaces (bullae) will form. A bullectomy will remove the bullae and allow some lung expansion.
Lung Volume Reduction
Lung volume reduction surgery (LVRS) takes place in patients who suffer from COPD related to emphysema. This procedure reduces the lung size by removing damaged tissues. The remaining lung and surrounding muscles are able to work more efficiently and allow functional airways to do better gas exchange.
A lung transplant is typically performed in patients with very severe COPD. During a lung transplant, the damaged lung is removed and replaced with a healthy lung. The procedure improves COPD symptoms and the quality of life for some select patients (average survival is about 5 years after transplant). However, a lung transplant can cause infections and possibly death if the body rejects the new lung.