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COPD: Lung Surgery Options

Healthcare providers performing surgery in operating room.

Surgery is a choice for a few people with severe COPD. The surgeries include bullectomy, endobronchial valve, lung reduction, and lung transplant.


This surgery may be done on a person with emphysema, one type of COPD. When someone has emphysema, the air sacs (alveoli) in the lungs are enlarged. Bullae are very large air sacs. A bullectomy removes the bullae. This makes it 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 available in the US. It was approved by the FDA in 2018. Talk with your healthcare provider to see if surgery is a choice for you.

Lung volume reduction (LVR) surgery

A part of one or both lungs is removed. This creates more space for the healthy parts of the lungs, making it 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: Alan J Blaivas DO
Online Medical Reviewer: Daphne Pierce-Smith RN MSN CCRC
Online Medical Reviewer: Wanda Taylor RN PhD
Date Last Reviewed: 8/1/2018
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