Lung Volume Reduction Surgery

Lung volume reduction surgery (LVRS) is a surgical procedure in which sections of severely damaged lung tissue are removed. By removing the most diseased tissue (up to 30% of the lung volume), the goal is to improve the residual lung function and respiratory mechanics in patients with end-stage emphysema.

LVRS is performed through a video-assisted minimally invasive technique or through a bronchoscope using one-way valves. Studies show LVRS significantly improves quality of life, increases exercise capacity and even improves survival in carefully selected patients.

Who is a Candidate for LVRS?

Estimates suggest that 12 million Americans suffer have been diagnosed with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). However, around 12 million more Americans likely have COPD, but have not yet been diagnosed. COPD is the third leading cause of death in the United States, claiming more than 120,000 lives each year (NIH).

Most patients successfully manage their COPD with a combination of appropriate medical therapy, such as medication, and exercise. However in patients with end stage emphysema/COPD, these conservative treatments may no longer be sufficient, and LVRS may be recommended. Studies have shown that LVRS significantly improves quality of life, increases exercise capacity and even improves survival among patients that are good candidates for the surgery.

LVRS Course of Treatment

LVRS is indicated for patients with severe bilateral emphysema and hyperinflation, with disease located predominantly in the upper lobes of the lung. 

Treatment is made up of the following stages:

  • Treatment commences with a six-week program of outpatient pulmonary rehabilitation, accompanied by intensive follow-up
  • Diagnostic tests are performed for heart function
  • Surgery is performed, utilizing video-assisted, minimally invasive techniques in nearly all cases.
  • Patient undergoes pulmonary rehabilitation

More Information on the Surgical Emphysema Program at Columbia
Learn more about emphysema and COPD