Northwestern Medicine Surgeons Perform New Lung Volume Reduction Surgery
Chicago, IL – Every time Susan Fischer sees someone lugging around an oxygen container, she wants to pull them aside and tell them, “It can get better.”
Fischer, 65, has severe emphysema, also known as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), an ongoing and progressive disease that damages the lungs and makes breathing difficult. With her son’s wedding coming up and her daughter expecting a baby girl, Fischer was determined to not let her condition slow her down so she underwent a lung volume reduction (LVRS) surgery at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in December 2012. A few months after the procedure, Fisher welcomed her new granddaughter and danced at her son’s wedding.
“For the first time in a while I was able to take a deep breath,” said Fischer, an Arlington Heights resident. “You have no idea how good that feels.”
LVRS removes approximately 20 to 35 percent of the lungs that are damaged by emphysema, allowing the remaining, relatively good lung to expand and work better. Researchers believe that by surgically removing functionally useless tissue, air will be able to move in and out of the remaining lung more quickly. The operation is done through either a breast bone incision or smaller chest incisions using video-assisted thoracic surgical techniques.
“Lung volume reduction surgery is a great option for select patients with severe emphysema,” said Malcolm DeCamp, MD, chief of the division of thoracic surgery at Northwestern Memorial Hospital and Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. “This is a surgical option to help people with severe emphysema gain a better quality of life and prolong life.” Continue>
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