by Ronnenberg A

Surgery may be used to treat some people who have COPD. It cannot cure COPD, but it may ease symptoms, make breathing easier, and prolong life. Options are:

Bronchoscopic Lung Volume Reduction (BLVR)

BLVR is a procedure to reduce lung volume in people with severe emphysema. A small, one way valve is placed inside the airways of the lung during a bronchoscopy. The valve directs air that is inhaled to healthier parts of the lung and away from the diseased parts. This eases symptoms and makes it easier to breathe. One or more valves may be placed.

Lung Volume Reduction Surgery (LVRS)

LVRS removes a portion of the most diseased lung tissue. This lets the muscle that helps with breathing to return to a more normal position so it works better. LVRS may ease symptoms in people with severe COPD.


COPD weakens the lungs and damages the tiny air sacs in it. This causes large air pockets known as bullae form. A bullectomy is done to remove these air pockets. This allows the healthy air sacs around it to expand and makes the muscles used for breathing work better. This surgery is not common, but it may ease breathing in some people.

Lung Transplant

People with severe symptoms who are not helped by other methods may need a lung transplant. This surgery replaces a diseased lung with a healthy one from a donor. One or both lungs may be transplanted.


Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). American Lung Association website. Available at: Accessed April 21, 2022.

COPD. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: Accessed April 21, 2022.

What is COPD? National Heart Lung and Blood Institute website. Available at: Accessed April 21, 2022.

Revision Information

  • Review Date: 11/2021
  • Update Date: 04/21/2022