Background Evidence for pulmonary metastasectomy following colorectal cancer (CRC) is scarce. The aim of the study was to investigate long-term survival and identify prognostic factors to aid patient selection. Methods We included all patients who underwent pulmonary resections for CRC metastases between January 01, 2004 and December 31, 2015 in a population-based cohort study. The primary outcome measure was all-cause mortality and was ascertained from Swedish national registers. The Kaplan-Meier estimator was used to calculate cumulative survival. We used Cox regression for estimation of hazard ratios (HR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) for the association between patient characteristics and survival. Results We included 184 patients. The number of procedures per year increased from 1 in 2004 to 34 in 2015. During a median follow-up time of 3.2 years, 36% (66/184) patients died. Overall survival at 5 years was 60% (95% CI: 50–68%) and was significantly lower compared to an age- and gender-matched Swedish population. Carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA) level was identified as a prognostic factor for mortality in the age and sex-adjusted analysis (HR, 2.46; 95% CI: 1.15–5.26, P=0.020). Conclusions We found a steady increase in the number of pulmonary metastasectomies after CRC during the study period. We identified prethoracotomy CEA level as a prognostic factor for long-term survival, which was consistent with prior reports. The 5-year overall survival rate in our study was 60%, which was high in comparison with prior reports. Although our results indicated that current patient selection criteria were reasonable, definitive evidence of efficacy is pending.