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An extrapleural pneumonectomy is a surgical procedure that can be used to treat pleural mesothelioma. Typically recommended for patients whose cancer has not spread to lymph nodes or distant organs, this fairly extensive surgery can address large tumors that have spread throughout the chest cavity.

During an extrapleural pneumonectomy, a surgeon removes the:

  • Cancerous lung
  • Cancerous part of the pleura (membrane surrounding the lungs)
  • Cancerous part of the pericardium (membrane surrounding the heart)
  • Cancerous part of the diaphragm

After surgery, most patients spend approximately two weeks recovering in a hospital, followed by several months of additional recovery at home. Many patients report a reduction in mesothelioma symptoms, such as coughing and shortness of breath, because excess pressure is no longer being placed on their respiratory systems. 

Because extrapleural pneumonectomy is a challenging and technically complex procedure, outcomes are typically best when this surgery is performed by a highly experienced surgeon who understands the unique challenges of extensive thoracic surgery. Additionally, supportive care is crucial throughout the recovery process to help patients achieve the highest possible quality of life.

At Moffitt Cancer Center, we have an experienced team of surgical oncologists, physical therapists, dietitians and other medical professionals who provide individualized treatments to each patient. Our surgical team includes several surgeons who exclusively perform procedures for lung cancer and mesothelioma, giving them a range of expertise that’s virtually unparalleled. And, this experience is put into practice on a regular basis, with our team completing a high number of complex thoracic surgeries each year. Moffitt’s surgeons are continually using and refining their techniques and skills, enabling us to produce outcomes that routinely exceed the national averages.

If you’re considering an extrapleural pneumonectomy or any other type of surgical treatment for mesothelioma, you can consult with Moffitt’s expert oncologists with or without a referral. To schedule a consultation, call 1-888-663-3488 or submit a new patient registration form online.