For very severe cases of COPD and other lung disorders, your physician may recommend surgery. This is usually only an option if you have very severe symptoms, medicine and other treatments aren’t working, and you cannot breathe well at all. Below are some of the different kinds of surgical procedures available.
Trans-tracheal oxygen delivery
This is a very simple procedure in which a small opening is made in the neck and a catheter is placed through the opening and directly into your trachea (windpipe), and is attached to an oxygen delivery device to feed oxygen directly to your lungs. The opening in the neck is very small and can often be hidden with clothing, thereby being much less noticeable than the traditional cannula.
Lung Volume Reduction Surgery (LVRS)
This operation removes the most damaged parts of your lungs. It is an invasive procedure, requiring the surgeon to open up your chest. Successful LVRS usually involves removing around 30% of your lung, making them smaller overall. Ideally, this will allow you to function and breathe better in the long run by using only the parts of your lungs that are still in decent shape.
This procedure is for severe COPD patients who have an abnormally large air sac in their lungs that is causing pressure on the good part of the lung, thus constricting airflow. Bullectomy removes this air sac, allowing more air to enter the lungs. This surgery is only an option for a small number of patients affected by this specific phenomenon.
This option is for very severe cases with no other options left. The damaged or diseased lung is removed and replaced with a healthy one from a donor. Sometimes the hospital will create a new lung by combining two parts from different donors. Lung transplantation is not an option for everyone; beyond the difficulty of the procedure, waiting for a donor, and hoping that your body won’t reject the new tissue, it is also not for people with other systemic health issues or infections. A heavy amount of rehabilitation and follow-up care is required post-operation.