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The present study investigated and analyzed the clinical impact of sublobectomy on pulmonary functions.Changes in pulmonary function before and after sublobectomy were compared to the changes after lobectomy.Changes in the pulmonary function before and after sublobectomy and lobectomy did not exhibit remarkable differences in long-term effects. Surgery-related indexes of the sublobectomy group were significantly lower than those of the lobectomy group (P < .05). The indexes of pulmonary function both before and after surgery in the sublobectomy group were not associated with a significant decrease in the quality of survival based on pulmonary function as the main index (P > .05).Compared with lobectomy, sublobectomy maximally retained the normal healthy pulmonary tissue, with similar local recurrence rate, 5-year recurrence-free survival rate, and 5-year survival rate. Sublobectomy decreased the impact on respiratory functions to the minimum. After the operation, the quality of survival with pulmonary functions as the main index did not decrease significantly. Therefore, sublobectomy could be an appropriate choice for elderly patients with poor cardiopulmonary function or with chronic diseases.