Pleurectomy: A Mesothelioma Surgery

Pleurectomy is a palliative mesothelioma surgery that removes the pleural layer that lines the chest so the fluid that has built up between it and the pleural layer over the lung is drained. As part of the procedure, the pleural layer over the lung is also stripped, but the diseased lung is not removed. During this type of mesothelioma surgery, the surgeon may also debulk any tumors present. Pleurectomy is a good option for patients whose lack of physical strength make them poor candidates for extrapleural pneumonectomy.

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Pleurectomy Shows Better Survival Rates Than Extrapleural Pneumonectomy

Pleurectomy is a less radical form of mesothelioma surgery than extrapleural pneumonectomy. This means that the rates of post-surgical complications are lower, and research has shown that pleurectomy has better surgical survival rates. The type of mesothelioma surgery that a patient undergoes, however, is typically based on numerous factors. Where pleurectomy may be the right choice for one patient, extrapleural pneumonectomy could be the right choice for another.

Pleurectomy Is as Effective as Extrapleural Pneumonectomy

The website for The Shands Cancer Center at the University of Florida notes: “The mortality of pleurectomy is 1.5%-5% when performed by an experienced surgeon. When performed at an early stage, pleurectomy can be just as effective in removing all cancer as the extrapleural pneumonectomy.”

Pleurectomy Increases Lung Volume Expansion

In one study, researchers studied 12 patients who underwent a pre-surgical CT scan, pleurectomy, and two post-surgical CT scans at one and four months. The patients’ lung volume was measured in each scan. They observed that an increase in the post-surgical lung volume was observed for 10 of 12 patients one month after surgery. The average volume increase was 44 percent more than the pre-surgical volume and 21 percent more than the volume of the other lung.

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