Mesothelioma Home > Mesothelioma Surgery

For some patients with mesothelioma, surgery may be the best treatment option. Surgeries used to treat mesothelioma include wide local excision, extrapleural pneumonectomy, and pleurodesis. In some cases of mesothelioma, surgery may be followed with radiation therapy or chemotherapy to kill any remaining cancer cells.

An Overview of Mesothelioma Surgery

The following surgeries may be used for mesothelioma treatment:
  • Wide local excision
  • Pleurectomy and decortication
  • Extrapleural pneumonectomy
  • Pleurodesis.
Wide Local Excision
Wide local excision involves surgery to remove the cancer and some of the healthy tissue around it.

Pleurectomy and Decortication

This type of surgery removes part of the covering of the lungs and lining of the chest and part of the outside surface of the lungs.


Extrapleural Pneumonectomy

With a pneumonectomy, one whole lung and part of the lining of the chest, the diaphragm, and the lining of the sac around the heart are removed.



A pleurodesis is a surgical procedure that uses chemicals or drugs to make a scar in the space between the layers of the pleura. Fluid is first drained from the space using a catheter or chest tube and the chemical or drug is put into the space. The scarring stops the buildup of fluid in the pleural cavity.


Other Mesothelioma Surgery Information

Even if the doctor removes all the cancer that can be seen at the time of the surgery, some patients may be given chemotherapy or radiation therapy after surgery for mesothelioma treatment. These additional treatments are used to kill any cancer cells that are left. Mesothelioma treatment given after surgery, to increase the chances of a cure, is called adjuvant therapy.
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last updated/reviewed:
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