COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) (cont.)

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Surgery for COPD

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There are three types of surgery generally available to treat certain types of patients with COPD that include:

  1. bullectomy,
  2. lung volume reduction surgery, and
  3. lung transplant surgery.

Surgery may not be available or desirable for many COPD patients.

Bullectomy surgery is the removal of giant bullae. Air–filled spaces usually located in the lung periphery that occupy lung space most often in patients with emphysema are termed bullae. Giant bullae may occupy over 33% of the lung tissue, compress adjacent lung tissue, and reduce blood flow and ventilation to healthy tissue. Surgical removal can allow compressed lung tissue that is still functional to expand.

Lung volume reduction surgery is removal of lung tissue that has been most damaged by tobacco smoking, usually the 20% to 30% of lung tissue located in the upper part of each lung. This procedure is not done often; it is usually done on patients who have severe emphysema and marked hyperinflation of the airways and air spaces.

Lung transplantation is surgical therapy for people with advanced lung disease. Patients with COPD are the largest single category of people who undergo lung transplantation. In general, these COPD patients are usually at COPD stage three or four with severe symptoms and generally, without transplantation, have a life expectancy of about two years or less.

Can COPD be prevented?

Except for COPD due to genetic problems, COPD can be prevented in many people by simply never using tobacco products. In addition, avoiding wood, oil, and coal-burning fumes along with limiting one's exposure to air pollutants may also decrease or prevent COPD. Getting vaccines to avoid infections can help reduce lung damage and the COPD symptoms that accompany with lung damage.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 12/4/2014

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