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Pleurectomy and Decortication Facts and Post-Surgery Expectations

Definition: Also known as "the lung-sparing surgery," pleurectomy and decortication is a type of surgery that removes tissues and tumor masses in the chest area.  

Facts about Pleurectomy and Decortication: This surgery has a very high success rate and is much less dangerous than pleural or extrapleural pneumonectomies.

Post-Surgery Expectations: In the first few days after surgery, patients might experience mild symptoms and will practice breathing exercises. Total recovery can take a couple of weeks.

Pleurectomy and Decortication

Pleurectomy and decortication, also called P/D, is an aggressive treatment option suitable for victims of pleural mesothelioma in the early stages of the illness. This surgery involves the removal of the pleural lung lining and all adjacent tumor masses. Mesothelioma specialists also call it lung-sparing surgery, because unlike pleural pneumonectomy or extrapleural pneumonectomy, this surgery leaves the affected lung in place.

P/D is a two-part procedure. First, the pleurectomy involves the removal of the pleural lining that surrounds the lungs, as well as other visible diseased tissues. Then, the decortication surgically removes any tumor masses present on the surface of the affected lung and the rest of the chest area.

If you've been diagnosed with mesothelioma and you need to undergo surgery or already had the surgery, we recommend you contact us and seek legal advice.

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Pleurectomy and Decortication Facts

Facts about Pleurectomy / Decortication

Patients must be in very good health and with an early stage of pleural mesothelioma so that they can qualify for major surgery. Pleurectomy/decortication has a very high success rate, and it can extend survival and significantly reduce symptoms and pain, especially when combined with chemotherapy and radiation therapy, as part of a multimodal treatment approach.

Lately, thoracic surgeons have come to prefer P/D over the more invasive and significantly more dangerous extrapleural pneumonectomy. Although, in many cases, doctors will decide on the spot, only after the surgery started, which procedure is more appropriate, depending on their evaluation of the extent of the cancer growth.

Post-Surgery Expectations

In the days shortly after the P/D surgery, the patient might experience small amounts of blood loss in the chest wall, as well as air leaks in the area. During this period, doctors will closely monitor the patient's recovery and have them practice breathing exercises.

Total recovery usually takes a couple more weeks, but it may take longer depending on the patient. If patients still suffer from mesothelioma symptoms after they finish recovery, they may be eligible for complementary treatments, to further lessen symptoms and improve breathing functions.

The most extended survival times after P/D are closely linked with a multimodal approach that involves other types of treatments. Postoperative chemotherapy and radiation therapy can kill cancer cells that were not removed during the surgery, as well as prevent local cancer occurrence for as long as possible.

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