With some breathing disorders, less lung means more freedom.

Emphysema can make the simplest movements difficult. As the chronic condition causes your lungs to overexpand, a walk across the room might wear you out. Even getting up from a chair can become a struggle.

Lung volume reduction surgery could offer relief. This innovative procedure removes parts of the lungs damaged by emphysema, improving blood flow, lung capacity and (most importantly) your quality of life.

The Ohio State Wexner Medical Center is a leader in lung volume reduction surgery, or LVRS. Our program was the first in the nation to receive a two-year certification of distinction from The Joint Commission, the group that certifies and accredits healthcare organizations, and we were one of 17 centers nationwide that participated in a five-year research study that examined the risks, benefits and appropriate selection criteria for lung volume reduction surgery. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services also selected Ohio State as a location to provide the procedure to Medicare beneficiaries.

Am I a good candidate?

You must be smoke-free for four months or longer to be eligible for this procedure. You also will have to undergo several tests – including blood, heart, breathing and exercise tests – to evaluate your candidacy, and you must participate in an extensive pulmonary rehabilitation program before and after surgery.

How the Surgery Works

LVRS requires a general anesthetic. The surgeon will use one of following surgical techniques after reviewing tests, meeting with you and determining the best option:

  • Median sternotomy: Opens the chest by the breastbone, similar to the incision used for open-heart surgery.
  • Video-assisted thoracic surgery: Inserts instruments between the ribs and into the chest with small incisions through the sides of the chest.

About 30 percent of each lung is removed during the surgery. Major risks include pain, bleeding and infection.

Recovery and Rehabilitation

You will stay at Ohio State’s Ross Heart Hospital after surgery. You will receive medicines to ease your pain and breathing, and pulmonary rehabilitation staff will work with you to help you get out of bed and walk as early as one day after your operation. If your recovery goes well, you can expect to leave the hospital in seven to 10 days. You will be required to return to pulmonary rehabilitation after discharge and continue with follow-up visits as necessary.

Learn More

For referrals or more information, contact Mahasti Rittinger at (614) 688-4587.


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