Thirty patients undergoing elective cholecystectomy were randomly assigned to two groups. Fifteen patients received postoperative intermittent positive pressure breathing (IPPB) for four days together with physiotherapy while the other 15 had the same postoperative care but without IPPB. Vital capacity (VC), functional residual capacity (FRC) and PO2 were measured preoperatively and on days 0, 1, 3, and 5 postoperatively. The incidence of postoperative pulmonary complications utilizing chest x-ray films, sputum analysis, temperature, and clinical assessment was determined. Both groups had significant deterioration in pulmonary function but did not differ except for a greater depression in VC in the IPPB group (p less than .05). In patients receiving postoperative physiotherapy, the addition of IPPB did not usually result in improved pulmonary function.