Lung Transplant Image Gallery

A Step-by-Step Photo Guide

Normal Anatomy of Respiratory System

Respiratory System
Normal Anatomy of the Respiratory System. Photo © A.D.A.M.

Lung transplant is a possible surgical option for those with COPD, specifically end-stage emphysema who meet specific criteria. Enter the lung transplant image gallery, a step-by-step photo guide to lung transplantation to learn more about lung transplant.

Lung transplants are performed for a variety of lung diseases, such as pulmonary fibrosis and pulmonary hypertension. COPD, however, is the most common reason lung transplantation is performed.

Patients who are less than 65 years old with end-stage COPD in the absence of other significant disease should be considered for lung transplant evaluation and referral. Some programs will consider patients who are older than 65 years, but strict criteria must be met for consideration.

The lungs lungs are part of the respiratory system. They reside in the thorax, or chest cavity. The lungs are where oxygen and carbon dioxide are exchanged. Oxygen is added to the blood, while carbon dioxide is removed.

Emphysema of the Lungs

Emphysema of the Lungs. Courtesy of A.D.A.M.

Your doctor may recommended a lung transplant if you have severe lung disease such as emphysema, cystic fibrosis, sarcoidosis or pulmonary fibrosis.

Read more about:

  • Emphysema
  • Cystic Fibrosis
  • Sarcoidosis
  • Pulmonary Fibrosis

Lung Transplant Incision

Lung Transplant Incision
Lung Transplant Incision. Courtesy of A.D.A.M.

A lung transplant is performed while the patient is deep asleep under general anesthesia. An incision is made between the ribs (shown above) or through the sternum (breast bone). Depending upon the disease process being treated, one or two donor lungs will be transplanted into the patient's chest cavity.

Read more information about organ transplants:

From Diagnosis to Organ Transplant Surgery

Heart and Lung Bypass Machine

Heart-Lung Bypass Machine
Heart-Lung Bypass Machine. Photo © A.D.A.M.

In order to keep the blood oxygenated and circulating during surgery, tubes are used to re-route the circulatory system to a heart-lung bypass machine. When the patient's lungs are removed, the donor lungs are then stitched into place.

Read more about heart-lung bypass:

Cardiopulmonary Bypass


Aftercare of Lung Transplant Surgery
Aftercare. Photo © A.D.A.M.

For several days after surgery, chest tubes are inserted to drain excess air, fluid and blood out of the chest. This helps the lungs fully re-expand.

In order to prevent rejection of the donor lungs, patients must take immunosuppressive medications for the rest of their lives. While a lung transplant does not necessarily improve survival in COPD patients, it can improve quality-of-life.

For a step-by-step guide on chest tube insertion, view the illustrated photo series.

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