Japanese Surgeons Introduce Test of Non-Incisional Pleurectomy/Decortication for Mesothelioma

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Published on September 15, 2022

Patients diagnosed with malignant pleural mesothelioma are quickly assessed to determine whether they are eligible for one of two methods of surgical resection of their tumors: either the lung-sparing pleurectomy with decortication or a more aggressive approach called extrapleural pneumonectomy, which removes the pleural membrane and the affected lung, as well as any other impacted tissue. Now surgeons in Japan have published a report on a non-incisional form of pleurectomy/decortication surgery that can be performed more quickly and without risking the spread of cancer cells.

Non-Incisional Approach Reduces Risk of Cancer Spread for Mesothelioma Patients

Even in the face of a fatal form of cancer like mesothelioma, surgery requires consideration of the risk to the patient. Pleurectomy and decortication is far less aggressive and traumatic for the patient’s body than extrapleural pneumonectomy, but it still can spread tumor cells, and removing the entire tumor can be a challenge. 

According to a study published in the journal General Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery, Japanese researchers led by study author Fumihiro Tanaka have assessed a non-incisional approach that allows mesothelioma surgeons to avoid making multiple incisions into the pleura to separate it from the lungs. Instead, they use a non-incisional approach that effectively allows the pleura to be removed in one piece. 

En Bloc Removal of Mesothelioma-Affected Pleura Cuts Surgical Time

The scientists evaluated the use of the procedure in three dozen mesothelioma patients between 2017 and 2020. They found that the approach achieved complete resection of the diseased organ in 86% of patients. Importantly, the non-incisional approach cut the surgical time from a median of 506 minutes to just 350 minutes, significantly lowering patient risk.

Though the researchers reported that one patient died three months later when their mesothelioma returned, and about one third of those undergoing the procedure experienced complications, Dr. Tanaka concluded, “Non-incisional pleurectomy/decortication is a fast and feasible technique to achieve en bloc macroscopic complete resection for malignant pleural mesothelioma.”

If you or someone you love is facing mesothelioma surgery, the Patient Advocates at Mesothelioma.net can provide you with the resources and support that you need. Contact us today at 1-800-692-8608.

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Written by Terri Oppenheimer

Terri Heimann Oppenheimer

Terri Heimann Oppenheimer is the head writer of our Mesothelioma.net news blog. She graduated from the College of William and Mary with a degree in English. Terri believes that knowledge is power and she is committed to sharing news about the impact of mesothelioma, the latest research and medical breakthroughs, and victims’ stories.

Learn more about and contact Terri