Mesothelioma Surgery

Mesothelioma Surgery
By Sandra Oertell, Guest Editor

It is unfortunate that taking a biopsy of the fluid buildup when mesothelioma is suspected is not always conclusive. To make certain that it is indeed that disease, mesothelioma surgery is then performed.

One less invasive method is to do a thoracoscopy, which allows the surgeon to view the area while taking several samples of the tissue. He can also perform pleurodesis (removal of the accumulated fluids) at that time if tumors haven’t filled the pleural space. This procedure will almost always give a definitive diagnosis. If this isn’t possible, a more invasive, open biopsy will have to be performed.

Another surgery for mesothelioma is video-assisted thoracic surgery. In this case, the surgeon makes small incisions, examines the pleural space using a camera, and takes the samples which are then sent to the pathologist. This is not the preferred method, since it is more likely to spread the cancer cells than with the thoracoscopy.

When enlarged lymph nodes are found through whatever imaging test was used, mediastinoscopy might then be done to state the extent of the cancer in that area. If the imaging suggests that the tumor has invaded the diaphragm, a laparoscope may be used. These procedures are necessary to determine whether a patient should undergo a extrapleural pneumonectomy or a pleurectomy.

Palliative mesothelioma surgery is a procedure that treats the symptoms rather than aggressively attacking the disease. The above mentioned pleurodesis, pleuroperitoneal shunt , pleurectomy, and chest tube drainage, are types of palliative surgery. The pleural effusion is usually the first symptom that sends the patient to the doctor for diagnosing.

Unfortunately, the fluids can return persistently if the pleural space is not closed. A talc slurry or a powdered talc is used to accomplish the closing, by way of video-assisted thoracic surgery (VATS). If a tumor is surrounding the lung and restricting expansion, these methods will not be effective.

There is mesothelioma surgery that is considered to be potentially curative. In this case, the ideal is to remove all of the disease, while understanding that some cancer cells will probably remain in the body. Adjuvant therapy (chemotherapy) is then used with the hope of killing off any residual cells that were left behind.

Extrapleural pneumonectomy is a very serious mesothelioma surgery that will only be suggested if the medical team feels the patient has an excellent chance of surviving and recovering. They will consider kidney and liver function, cardiac function, pulmonary function, age, and the extent of cancer infiltration. If you have mesotheliom, surgery of this type must be discussed thoroughly with your doctors. You need to completely understand both the risks and the possible benefits.

Click on the book below to learn more about mesothelioma surgery options, and what you need to know.

100 Questions and Answers About Mesothelioma

100 Questions and Answers About Mesothelioma

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