Surgery is not the first line of treatment for COPD. Most of the time, it is treated with medicines, rehabilitation, oxygen therapy and lifestyle changes. But there are cases when surgery can be necessary and beneficial. There are three types of surgery that can be used to treat COPD.
Lung Volume Reduction Surgery (LVRS)
Lung volume reduction surgery involves removing damaged tissue from the lungs, which helps the lungs function better. It is not an option for all patients with COPD, but it can be successful in carefully selected patients, improving breathing ability and quality of life.
COPD can severely damage the lungs, including the walls of the air sacs that help people breathe. When these walls are destroyed, large air spaces form. The spaces are called bullae. Bullae can become so large that they interfere with breathing. A bullectomy is a surgery in which surgeons remove one or more very large bullae from the lungs.
Some people who have very severe COPD may benefit from a lung transplant. During a lung transplant, a damaged lung is removed, and a healthy lung, donated from a deceased person, is surgically put in its place.
Currently, we do not perform lung transplants at Northwestern Memorial Hospital.
Lung Surgery Expertise at Northwestern Memorial Hospital
Malcolm M. DeCamp, MD, Chief of the Division of Thoracic Surgery at Northwestern Memorial Hospital and Professor of Surgery at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, and Alberto de Hoyos, MD, are thoracic surgeons experienced in the surgical treatment of COPD.
Focused areas of expertise include:
- Lung Cancers
- Airway surgery
- Mediastinal masses
- Center for Robotic & Minimally Invasive Surgery
- Lung Volume Reduction Surgery (LVRS)
- Surgical options for advanced lung disease
- Lung transplantation*
*Currently, we do not perform lung transplants at Northwestern Memorial Hospital.
At Northwestern Memorial Hospital, our thoracic surgeons know the importance of working with other specialists and support staff throughout the hospital to offer the most comprehensive care to patients. Our thoracic surgeons work hand-in-hand with physicians at the Northwestern Memorial Asthma-COPD Program to find the best possible treatments for each individual patient.
If you have or think you may have COPD, we urge you to seek treatment as soon as possible. If you don’t have a physician, and you’d like to make an appointment with someone who understands COPD and how to successfully manage it, you may do so by calling our Physician Referral Department at 1-877-926-4664. You may also request a first time appointment online.
Tune in to Health
Listen to Malcolm M. DeCamp, MD, chief of thoracic surgery, discuss surgical treatment of lung cancer.