Mesothelioma Attorneys

Mesothelioma Surgery

Mesothelioma Lawyer

Surgery is a common treatment for mesothelioma patients. Most mesothelioma surgery is palliative rather than curative, but in patients who are diagnosed very early, surgery can sometimes be effective in removing all of the cancer. Surgery may be combined with chemotherapy and or radiation in bimodal or trimodal therapy. Even though it is not an attempt to control the cancer, palliative surgery can improve your quality of life and extend your life.

Curative Surgery

When mesothelioma is caught early, curative surgery is a treatment option. It can be very effective if the cancer is still contained in one area where it can be removed. Curative surgeries used to treat mesothelioma include:

  • Pleurectomy – removal of the lining of the lungs (pleura)
  • Pneumonectomy – removal of the lung
  • Extrapleural pneumonectomy – removal of the lung and portions of the pleura, pericardium, and diaphragm
  • Cytoreductive surgery – removal a tumor in the abdomen

Extrapleural pneumonectomy is a very extreme surgery which carries a large chance of severe complications. The procedure requires great skill on the part of the surgeon. Candidates for extrapleural pneumonectomy are carefully selected and must be in good health to survive after the operation. It is usually combined with chemotherapy and radiation as part of trimodal treatment. Recovery typically takes at least a year.

While curative mesothelioma surgeries are not considered to be a cure for mesothelioma, they can extend life by several years and in some cases the cancer is completely eradicated. Unfortunately, most patients are not diagnosed early enough to benefit from curative surgeries.

Palliative Surgery

Palliative procedures can greatly improve quality of life and, in some cases, even extend life. Palliative surgeries and procedures include:

  • Thoracentesis – removal of fluid surrounding the lungs, using a needle
  • Paracentecic – removal of fluid from the abdomen, using a needle
  • Pleurodesis – after removal of fluid, talc or another agent is introduced into the pleural cavity causing irritation which leads to scaring and closing of the space so that fluid can no longer build up in the pleura
  • Pleurectomy, cytoreductive surgery, and other surgeries to remove tumors or portions of tumors in order to reduce pain

Palliative surgery does not attempt to control the cancer or stop its growth. It can relieve the pressure and pain caused by tumors and fluid buildup, and it can help patients breathe easier and more comfortably.