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Lung Volume Reduction Surgery (LVRS) and Bronchoscopic Lung Volume Reduction (bLVR)

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This information was reviewed and approved by Russell P. Bowler, MD, PhD, Irina Petrache, MD (3/1/2021).

Lung volume reduction surgery (LVRS) and bronchoscopic Lung Volume Reduction (bLVR) is considered for people who are found to have moderate to severe emphysema on a chest CT scan.

There are often portions of the lung tissue that are more diseased than other portions. LVRS removes up to 20 to 30 percent of the most diseased tissue from the lungs at one time. BLVR function removes the diseases section by using valves that collapse the disease portion. Removing some of the emphysema helps the healthier areas of the lungs and muscles to function better. People often are able to exercise more and feel less short of breath following lung volume reduction.

Lung volume reduction surgery is considered for adults with certain patterns of severe emphysema. Specific tests are done to determine if lung volume reduction surgery is recommended. These tests include breathing tests, a chest CT scan, an arterial blood gas (ABG), a lung perfusion study and exercise tests.

People who benefit from LVRS have severe emphysema with certain patterns of emphysema on a chest CT scan, particularly those with more emphysema in the upper lobes and a low exercise tolerance. Other benefits of LVRS include less shortness of breath, improved quality of life and a longer life.

Testing can help your health care provider determine whether LVRS may be beneficial for you. Most people who are considering LVRS are referred to a pulmonary specialist. Not all medical centers can perform LVRS.

If LVRS is considered, in addition to the above a person must:


What to Expect

Most people who have LVRS stay in the hospital for five to seven days, although some people require a longer stay. Full recovery for physical activity may take eight to 12 weeks. If LVRS is recommended, you will meet with the doctor who will perform the surgery. The doctor will review what to expect before, during and after the surgery. The doctor will also explain the risks and benefits of this surgery in more detail.


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