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Home / Mesothelioma / What is the Difference Between Extrapleural Pneumonectomy and Pleurectomy Decortication?

What is the Difference Between Extrapleural Pneumonectomy and Pleurectomy Decortication?

Extrapleural pneumonectomy and pleurectomy/decortication are very different procedures with extrapleural pneumonectomy being the removal of the entire diseased lung, as well as tissues and nearby lymph nodes while pleurectomy/decortication is a lung-saving procedure.

Extrapleural pneumonectomy procedures are only available to early-stage pleural mesothelioma patients whose cancer is contained to the chest cavity. During the procedure, the entire lung is removed in an effort to slow the growth of local cancer and provide the patient with an improved quality of life and breathing function.

In contrast, pleurectomy/decortication is a two-part procedure in which a surgeon opens the patient's chest cavity and removes the diseased lining of the lung (pleura), as well as other affected tissues. Then, the decortication is a removal of the visible tumors from the lung or chest region.

Surgeons often prefer pleurectomy/decortication over the more extreme and dated pleural pneumonectomy. However, the extent of the cancer growth in the chest is the ultimate determining factor of the best course of action.

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