Why aren't lung transplants used to treat emphysema more often?

There are several reasons why lung transplants are seldom used when it comes to treating emphysema. For one, there is a lack of donor lungs available. For another, to be eligible the patient must be expected to live no more than 2 years without a transplant, but be considered a good risk to survive the operation. Following the operation, the patient's immune system has to be suppressed for the rest of his or her life. This can leave the person highly susceptible to infection. These reasons, combined with the cost of a transplant and all the complications that accompany any type of surgery, make this option uncommon for treating emphysema. Fortunately, there are other treatments that can be very helpful, such as lung volume reduction surgery. 

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