Our experience with lung volume reduction surgery for emphysema now encompasses more than 300 cases, including several prospective trials. We have a 3.5% operative mortality rate and, with aggressive use of Heimlich valves over the past 6 months, an average hospital length of stay of 8 days. Proper patient selection is essential and can be based primarily on results of pulmonary function tests (PFTs), ventilation/perfusion (V/Q) scans, and computed tomography (CT) scans. We have found that bilateral is more effective than unilateral staple lung volume reduction surgery, which is in turn better than unilateral laser surgery. In patients with bilateral upper lobe disease, average FEV1 (forced expiratory volume in a 1-second interval) improvement is 82%; overall, it is 61% (range -33 to 217%). We conclude that lung volume reduction surgery can be performed safely with acceptable mortality and excellent clinical results in properly selected, motivated patients.