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Pneumonectomy for Mesothelioma

In Pneumonectomy, an entire cancer-infected lung is taken out of the body. When a patient with Mesothelioma could not be treated by removing just a small portion of the lining area of the lung, Pneumonectomy is performed. It is also applicable for people suffering from tuberculosis and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. There are a few deciding factors of the treatment like the size and location of the cancerous tumor, the overall health of the patients, how is the lung functioning and if there is a spread of the disease to the other body sites.

This procedure is divided into two parts:

  • Extrapleural Pneumonectomy – In this the infected lung (left/right) along with some parts of the pericardium, pleura, diaphragm with cancer growth are removed. It is generally performed to treat Mesothelioma.
  • Standard Pneumonectomy – In this procure only the entire left or entire right lung is removed and nothing else.

It is an open chest surgery where the incision is made on the diseased lung, right below the shoulder blade. Either by spreading or removing a portion of the rib, the surgeon collapses the lung and tie up the blood vessels that go to the lung. Similarly, the bronchus that goes to the lung is tied off and sewn closed. Then the lung is removed. Before closing the incision, the surgeon makes sure the bleeding is under control.

Overall it is a complicated procedure and patients are placed under general anesthesia prior to the surgery. Patients need to stay in the hospital for at least 10 days post-surgery. However, it takes more time for the remaining lung to take the increased load and work properly.
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How Does Pneumonectomy Help People with Mesothelioma?

Before conducting the surgery, every patient is thoroughly scanned if cancer has affected any other body parts including liver, bone, and brain and so on. Apart from that, it is important that the lung is in good condition to sustain this complex surgery. It is generally done in the early stages of Mesothelioma before the cancer growth spreads to the other sites. It has an immediate success rate ranging between 88 to 96 percent. The main focus of this treatment is to remove as much cancer as possible which relieves the patients of the symptoms and extends their life expectancy for years.
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Expected Cost of Pneumonectomy

There is a trail of several scans and tests that rule out if you are eligibility for this major surgery. Post-surgery, there is a hospital stay. One must consider all these aspects while calculating the cost of the treatment. Saving and insurance may not suffice the expenditure. Therefore, you must and without hesitation check the costs with your doctor and negotiate. If required, take it to the charitable organizations, VA Funds. There are several government programs to aid. As a rough figure, you can expect it to cost you five to six digit amount.
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Side Effects Of Pneumonectomy

There are several risks associated with Pneumonectomy like the patients would need an extended support of a respirator, cardiac problems, pneumonia, infection, pulmonary edema, organ failure, pulmonary embolism as well as post pneumonectomy syndrome. Despite all these risk factors, this treatment has knowingly improved the quality of life of patients with pleural Mesothelioma and lung cancer. Also, it has extended their life expectancy. Today, it is a valuable procedure for treating and relieving patients with Mesothelioma. Just consult your doctor and evaluate your options before taking any step ahead.
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Show Sources


  • https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12065354
  • http://www.brighamandwomens.org/Departments_and_Services/lung-center/resources/Pneumonectomy.aspx
  • http://icvts.oxfordjournals.org/content/10/6/936.long
  • https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19698846
Last Modified: Apr 14, 2017 @ 12:05 am

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