lung reduction surgery singapore

Lung Volume Reduction

Lung volume reduction surgery is a surgical procedure used to treat certain severe forms of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), such as emphysema. Neumark surgeons use minimally invasive lung volume reduction surgery via uniportal video-assisted thoracic surgery (U-VATS) to remove the diseased lung tissue, allowing the remaining healthy tissue to expand and function more effectively.

What Is Lung Volume Reduction Surgery?

Chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases (COPDs), like emphysema, present a significant public health burden. In patients with COPD, the lungs have a diminished ability to deflate and recoil, and the hyperinflation and airflow obstruction of the lungs causing shortness of breath during even the lightest of physical activities.

Lung volume reduction surgery is a safe and effective treatment protocol for patients with lung diseases such as advanced emphysema. Emphysema is a disease that afflicts the lungs, primarily caused by tobacco smoke or other air pollutants. The disease inflates the alveoli (tiny sacs within the lungs), making it harder for them to process oxygen and carbon dioxide, compressing the lung and damaging the lung walls, affecting respiratory function.

The surgical technique is one of several tools available to patients afflicted with COPDs to help slow the degradation of the lungs and ease often debilitating symptoms. Following surgery, patients often experienced improved breathing outcomes and an enhanced quality of life.

Not all patients with COPD or emphysema are eligible for lung volume reduction surgery: For example, the disease must have advanced to a severe stage; patients must have stopped smoking for a significant amount of time; and, they must be committed to pre- and post-operative care. It’s important that these criteria are met, as they affect both whether the surgery will be effective and if it will be safe for the patient.

lung volume reduction surgery

How Will Lung Volume Reduction Surgery Be Performed?

Lung volume reduction surgery can be performed via a minimally-invasive approach, though all patients who undergo it will need to be under general anaesthesia.

Through uniportal video-assisted thoracic surgery (U-VATS), Neumark’s thoracic surgeons will first identify the large bullae compressing the lung and remove the diseased part. The removal of this tissue will allow the remaining lung to expand better and ease symptoms such as breathlessness or tightness of the chest.

Most patients will notice a change in their oxygen intake in six to eight weeks after their operation. Lung volume reduction surgery will not ‘cure’ emphysema, but it will improve the patient’s overall quality of life.

Pulmonary rehabilitation for patients after lung reduction surgery includes a prescribed exercise regime, and lifestyle changes such as smoking cessation and proper nutritional health are highly recommended.

How Is Lung Volume Reduction Surgery Different from Other Surgeries?

The lungs are made up of five lobes (three on the right and two on the left), and the alveoli are part of this organ structure and respiratory system, which combined are vital for proper pulmonary functioning, helping to send oxygen into the body and releasing carbon dioxide. 

Lungs can be afflicted by a range of different diseases, so treatments vary. Lung volume reduction therapy is most often for patients with advanced emphysema, though it bears similarities and shares commonalities with other surgeries such as bullectomies and lobectomies.

Bullectomies are performed when a bullae is so enlarged, it occupies more than 30 percent of one side of the chest. In this case, surgery is done to remove just the bullae, which is now a non-working air sac.  In a lung volume reduction surgery, tissue is taken from the upper part of the lung, and some of that tissue may be part of working air sacs. The type of surgery depends on your condition and the severity of your bullae.

A lobectomy is performed if the lobe of the lung is completely destroyed by emphysema. This is done to facilitate the expansion of the remaining lobes of the lung. A patient following a lobectomy for lung volume reduction surgery  will have four or less lobes, however this will allow the remaining compressed lobes to expand and improve the lung function.  Since a lobectomy removes a portion of the lung, the surgery is considered a type of lung volume reduction surgery.

FAQs about Lung Volume Reduction

Lung volume reduction therapy can improve quality of life and slow the degradation caused by emphysema. Emphysema cannot be cured. As with many other diseases, it is better to work towards prevention. Smoking is the major contributing factor to emphysema so stopping smoking is instrumental to maintaining lung health.

Like any major surgery, there can be complications following lung volume reduction surgery. These include the usual risks that accompany major surgery such as going under general anaesthesia or resulting infections. One specific complication is air leaks, where the air from the lung seeps out into the chest cavity. These typically mend over time but some patients may require a second surgery to close up the leaks.

Life expectancy following lung volume reduction surgery varies based on the patient and the severity of their emphysema. The 5-year lung reduction surgery survival rate varies between 63 to 78 percent. This is largely due to the nature of their disease and not the surgery itself. Studies have shown that patients five years after their surgery have significant improvements to their quality of life and respiratory function.

DISCLAIMER: The information provided on this website is for general informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. The use of this website does not create a doctor-patient relationship and no medical advice should be inferred or assumed. It is the user’s sole responsibility to seek the advice of their healthcare professionals for any medical concerns they may have and the user should not disregard, or delay, prompt medical advice for any such condition.

Comprehensive Private Consultations for Lung Volume Reduction Surgery

Neumark Lung and Chest Surgery Centre benefits from the expertise of a multidisciplinary team led by Dr Harish Mithiran, senior consulting thoracic surgeon at Gleneagles Hospital and Mt Alvernia Hospital.

Neumark is a lung and chest specialist centre with access to leading treatment modalities to achieve the best possible outcomes for lung disease and preventative patient screening.

Our foremost priority is to treat your condition as effectively as possible. Schedule a private consultation today; complete the form below, call, +65 6908 2145; WhatsApp, +65 9726 2485; or email,