Lung reduction surgery: A surgical treatment for patients with advanced emphysema in which the volume of the emphysematous lung is reduced by wedge excision to allow the remaining tissue to expand more fully and restore some of the patient's breathing capacity. Also called reduction pneumoplasty or bilateral pneumectomy.
When this surgery is successful, there is improvement in lung function, exercise capacity, and the quality of life. However, the surgical mortality rate is appreciable (4% to 15%, according to the particular study). In a meticulous study, the National Emphysema Treatment Trial Research Group found that lung reduction surgery is detrimental to patients with the most severe emphysema -- those with severe injury to blood vessels of the lung and those with emphysema distributed uniformly throughout their lungs.