by EBSCO Medical Review Board
(LVRS-minimally invasive)


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. The diaphragm muscle, that helps your breathe, will also be able to work better. These changes 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.

Possible Complications

Potential problems are rare, but all procedures have some risk. Your doctor will review problems, like:

  • Air leaking from lung tissue
  • The need to switch to open surgery
  • Pneumonia or infection
  • Excess bleeding
  • Adverse reaction to anesthesia
  • Blood clots
  • Stroke
  • Heart attack

Some factors will increase your risk of problems. Talk to your doctor about ways to manage these factors, such as:

  • Smoking
  • Chronic diseases, such as diabetes or obesity

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, you will need to:

  • Become a non-smoker. Talk to your doctor about how you can quit.
  • Arrange for a ride home.
  • Arrange for help at home while you recover.
  • 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, including over the counter medicines and supplements.
  • Do not eat or drink anything after midnight the night before surgery.


General anesthesia will be used. It will put you to sleep.

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. Chest tubes will be left in place. It will allow trapped air to pass out of your chest and allow lungs to 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. Pain after the procedure can be managed with medicine.

Post-procedure Care

At the Care Center

Right after the procedure, the staff may give you pain medicine.

You will be in the hospital for 5 to 10 days. Your breathing and lungs will be watched closely. Chest tubes may be removed.

At Home

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.


Family Doctor—American Academy of Family Physicians 

Ortho Info—American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons 


Canadian Orthopaedic Association 

Canadian Orthopaedic Foundation 


COPD. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: Accessed March 19, 2021.

Emphysema: lung volume reduction surgery. EBSCO Nursing Reference Center website. Available at: Accessed March 19, 2021.

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: Accessed March 19, 2021.

Lung volume reduction surgery (LVRS): procedure details. Cleveland Clinic website. Available at: Accessed March 19, 2021.

Revision Information

  • Reviewer: EBSCO Medical Review Board
  • Review Date: 03/2021
  • Update Date: 03/19/2021