Patients diagnosed with pleural mesothelioma face a grim and tragically shortened future. Because of the disease’s long latency period, it often goes undetected until it is far advanced and the patient’s health is significantly compromised.
Some of these patients are deemed healthy enough to tolerate one of the two most common surgical procedures for their condition: extrapleural pneumonectomy (EPP), an extremely aggressive procedure that removes the affected lung along with other diseased tissue, and pleurectomy with decortication (P/D), a less invasive procedure that spares the lung while still removing significant amounts of tissue.
Both are major surgeries, and many patients are not good candidates for either as a result of their disease state, age, or overall health.
Now an Atlanta-based company has introduced a new surgical technique, and physicians in the United Kingdom are reporting that it has yielded good results.
The new technology is the PlasmaJet Surgical System uses ionized gas to remove malignant mesothelioma tissue without the trauma of conventional surgery. The gas dissects, vaporizes and seals the tissue in a completely different way that doesn’t involve cutting. This allows patients who are already medically fragile to avoid risks associated with extensive surgery.
The physicians who tested the system hailed from Harefield Hospital, and they recently published the results of their research in the Journal of Visualized Surgery. Describing their surgical procedures and outcomes they wrote,
“We consider video-assisted Plasmajet ablation to potentially have a role in mesothelioma surgery, as it may be used for effective cytoreduction while minimizing the risk for complications often associated with extensive pleurectomy procedures. We feel justified in offering the procedure to more of our patients as we aim to collect additional data.”
As more research is done, there is a strong possibility that this technology will see increased adoption around the world. For information on other resources available to mesothelioma patients, contact the Patient Advocates at Mesothelioma.net at 1-800-692-8608.