Minimally Invasive Lung Volume Reduction Surgery
by Cynthia M. Johnson, MA
Lung volume reduction surgery (LVRS) removes areas of severe disease from both of your lungs. Minimally invasive LVRS is a way to do surgery with small incisions.
Reasons for Procedure
LVRS is used to treat severe lung damage due to COPD. This damaged lung tissue is not able to do its job. LVRS removes this damaged tissue. The remaining lungs will have more room to expand. This will increase the amount of air the lungs can move and ease breathing.
Minimally invasive procedures do not need large incisions. Recovery time may be shorter than with open procedures. However, this option is not best for everyone.
Potential problems are rare, but all procedures have some risk. Your doctor will review possible problems, like:
Some factors will increase your risk of problems. Talk to your doctor about these factors, such as:
What to Expect
Prior to Procedure
Your doctor will review previous tests. This may include images of your lungs, heart and blood tests. Before surgery:
Certain medicines may cause problems during the procedure or recovery. These medicines may need to be stopped up to one week before the procedure. Talk to your doctor before the procedure about all medicines you are taking. This includes over the counter medicine and supplements.
General anesthesia will be used. It will put you to sleep and block pain.
Description of Procedure
Small incisions will be made between the ribs on one or both sides of your chest. A scope will be passed through one of the incisions. The scope will send images to a screen in the room. Other tools will be passed through other incisions. Small wedges of one or both lungs will be removed and closed off.
Tubes will be place near the area. It will allow trapped air to pass out of your chest. This will help the lungs stay inflated. The incisions will be closed.
How Long Will It Take?
It will take up to 4 hours.
How Much Will It Hurt?
Anesthesia will prevent pain during the procedure. The incisions and chest will be sore for a few weeks. Medicine will help to ease pain.
At the Care Center
The first 5 to 10 days of recovery will be done in the hospital. Your breathing and lungs will be watched closely. Chest tubes may be removed.
A pulmonary rehab program is an important part of recovery. You will be taught exercises to help improve breathing.
If you think you have an emergency, call for emergency medical services right away.
Call Your Doctor
Contact your doctor if your recovery is not progressing as expected or you develop complications, such as:
If you think you have an emergency, call for medical help right away.
American Thoracic Society
The Society of Thoracic Surgeons
Canadian Society for Vascular Surgery
The Lung Association
COPD. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T115557/COPD. Updated March 20, 2019. Accessed May 6, 2019.
Emphysema: lung volume reduction surgery. EBSCO Nursing Reference Center website. Available at: https://www.ebscohost.com/nursing/products/nursing-reference-center. Updated October 19, 2018. Accessed May 6, 2019.
Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease (GOLD). Global strategy for the diagnosis, management, and prevention of COPD. GOLD 2019
Lung volume reduction surgery. American Lung Association website. Available at: https://www.lung.org/lung-health-and-diseases/lung-procedures-and-tests/lung-volume-reduction-surgery.html. Updated March 13, 2018. Accessed May 6, 2019.
Lung volume reduction surgery (LVRS): procedure details. Cleveland Clinic website. Available at: https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/treatments/13794-lung-volume-reduction-surgery-lvrs/procedure-details. Updated November 15, 2016. Accessed May 6, 2019.
Last reviewed May 2019 by EBSCO Medical Review Board
Last Updated: 5/21/2019
EBSCO Information Services is fully accredited by URAC. URAC is an independent, nonprofit health care accrediting organization dedicated to promoting health care quality through accreditation, certification and commendation.
This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.
To send comments or feedback to our Editorial Team regarding the content please email us at email@example.com. Our Health Library Support team will respond to your email request within 2 business days.