Treatments available to improve compliance in surfactant-deficient states include exogenous surfactant (ES) and either partial (PLV) or total liquid ventilation (TLV) with perfluorochemical (PFC). Because of the additional air-lung and air-PFC interfaces introduced during PLV compared with TLV, we hypothesized that compliance would be worse during PLV than during TLV. Because surfactant is able to reduce interfacial tension between air and lung as well as between PFC and lung, we further hypothesized that compliance would improve with surfactant treatment before PLV. In excised preterm lamb lungs, we used Survanta for surfactant replacement and perflubron as the PFC. Compliance during PLV was intermediate between TLV and gas inflation, both with and without surfactant. Surfactant improved compliance during PLV, compared with PLV alone. Because of the force-balance equation governing the behavior of immiscible droplets on liquid surfaces, we predict that PFC droplets spread during PLV to cover the alveolar surface in surfactant-deficient lungs during most of lung inflation and deflation but that the PFC would retract into droplets in surfactant-sufficient lungs, except at end inspiration.