Mesothelioma Surgery- What Are Your Options?

There are three main types of surgeries used in the treatment of mesothelioma.

A-Diagnostic surgery: This is used to confirm the diagnosis and locate the tumor. It is usually non invasive {it does not require cutting up the patient surgically}

B-Curative surgery: This involves the removal of as much tumor as possible with the hope of curing the patient. Radiotherapy and or chemotherapy is often used in combination with this type of surgery.

C-Palliative surgery: This form of surgery offers only symptomatic relief. It involves removal of cancer tissue but it does not offer a cure.

These are the different types of surgical procedures available for treatment:


This is a diagnostic form of surgery in which the suspected cancer tissue is partially removed and sent to the laboratory for investigations under the microscope to determine whether the cells are cancerous. There are three types of biopsy procedures: a} Cone biopsy is not generally relevant in the diagnosis of mesothelioma. b} Excisional biopsy involves the removal of as much as possible all the cancerous cells for testing. c} Needle aspiration biopsy typically uses a very long needle to remove a sample of cells from the area where the cancer is suspected.


This surgical procedure is used in the diagnosis of pleural mesothelioma and it is also used as palliative treatment for draining excessive fluids in the pleura in cases of pleural mesothelioma. During thorancentesis, a very long hollow needle is inserted into the pleural space of the lungs and fluid is drained through the needle. The surgery is done under local anesthesia.

Usually before the procedure is carried out, the doctor orders for plain Chest X-ray to see the best location from which to extract the fluid. The drained fluid is then transported to the laboratory for testing.


This is a palliative surgery usually done for patients with pleural mesothelioma. The pleural spaces are first drained of the excessive fluid accumulation and then a talc-like chemical is inserted into the pleural space that causes inflammation in the pleural space. This obliterates the space and prevents further fluid accumulation.


Pneumonectomy is the removal of one of the lungs. This form of surgery is usually used to treat mesothelioma affecting just one lung. It cannot be used for plural mesothelioma affecting both lungs and it is also not suitable for treating advanced cancer that has spread to other parts of the body.

Suitable candidates suitable for this surgery must have a very good general state of health. This operation is done under general anesthesia and the affected lung is removed completely. The patient will have to breathe with assistance of a respirator several days after the surgery.

5-Parencentesis Parencentesis is a form of palliative surgery for peritoneal mesothelioma in which the excessive fluid in the peritoneum (which causes abdominal pain and swelling} is drained through a long, hollow needle inserted into the abdomen.

6-Thoracotomy Thoracotomy is a generic name referring to lung surgery that be performed in patients with pleural mesaothelioma. There are three main types of thoracotomy procedures: A}Wedge resection-it is used to remove small localized tumors leaving as much healthy tissue as possible intact.

B} Lobectomy-this the removal of one or more lobes of the lungs C} Pneumonectomy-this is the removal of the entire lung on one side

7-Thorascocopy This is a procedure that can be used to diagnose pleural mesothelioma and other lung diseases. An incision is made into the chest, and a long tube is inserted into the pleural spaces of the lungs, enabling the doctor/surgeon to examine the pleura. Samples of suspected cancer cells are then removed for testing.

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