COPD Home > Can Surgery Treat COPD?


For people with severe COPD, surgery may be recommended as a COPD treatment. Surgery is usually done for patients who have:
  • Severe symptoms
  • Symptoms that do not improve with medications
  • A very hard time breathing most of the time.
The two types of surgeries considered to treat COPD are:
  • Bullectomy
  • Lung transplant.
A bullectomy may be done for some people with COPD who have severe symptoms and giant bullae. A bulla is a large air sac (the plural form is bullae). A giant bulla may compress the good lung. This surgery removes the bulla and may make it easier for more oxygen to get into the blood because the good lung can expand. However, this surgery is indicated in only a few patients.
Lung Transplant
A lung transplant may be done for some patients with very severe COPD. The transplant involves removing the lung of a person with COPD and replacing it with a healthy lung from a donor.

Preventing Progression of COPD

If you smoke, the most important thing you can do to stop more damage to your lungs is to quit smoking. Many hospitals have smoking cessation programs or can refer you to one. It is also important to stay away from people who smoke and from places where you know there will be smokers.
Staying away from other lung irritants, such as pollution, dust, and certain cooking or heating fumes, is also important. For example, you should stay in your house when the outside air quality is poor.
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last updated/reviewed:
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