Decortication

Decortication refers to a surgical procedure done to free a fibrous capsule that has formed around the lung, secondary to an inflammatory process, such as an infection. Ordinarily there is a space between the lung and the inside of the chest wall, with this space "lubricated" by a thin layer of fluid. In some conditions, such as pneumonia, or after an episode of bleeding in the chest, this space can fill with fluid which can eventually solidify and form a capsule around the lung.
This type of infection is called an “empyema”. The infected material deposited onto the lung is called a pleural peel.

Blood in the Pleura Before Decortication

As the capsule grows, it can entrap the lung and cause problems with breathing. In a decortication operation, the surgeon works to remove this capsule and free the lung so that it can function normally. Following the decortication surgery, you will have a drainage or “chest tube” left in for a few days until your lung is totally healed and stuck up to the chest wall. Our surgeons use minimally invasive techniques such as video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery (VATS) to perform
the procedure. Your surgeon will tell you if you are a candidate.

After Decortication

Patients having decortication typically stay in the hospital 5-7 days. They one to three small tubes draining fluid and air from their side. When the tube is removed, the patient can expect to go home. They usually have a PCA for pain which is transitioned to oral pain medications when the tube is removed. Patients start with a clear liquid diet and are advanced to a regular diet if they tolerate clear liquids. Patients are encouraged to be out of bed and walk as much as possible.

Saint Barnabas Medical Center
94 Old Short Hills Road
Livingston, NJ 07039
(973) 322-5000
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Monmouth Medical Center
300 Second Avenue
Long Branch, NJ 07740
(732) 222-5200
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The Unterberg Children's Hospital at Monmouth Medical Center
300 Second Avenue
Long Branch, NJ 07740
(732) 923-7250
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Monmouth Medical Center Southern Campus
600 River Avenue
Lakewood, NJ 08701
(732) 363-1900
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Clara Maass Medical Center
1 Clara Maass Drive
Belleville, NJ 07109
(973) 450-2000
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Community Medical Center
99 Highway 37 West
Toms River, NJ 08755
(732) 557-8000
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Newark Beth Israel Medical Center
201 Lyons Avenue at Osborne Terrace
Newark, NJ 07112
(973) 926-7000
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Children's Hospital of New Jersey at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center
201 Lyons Avenue at Osborne Terrace
Newark, NJ 07112
(973) 926-7000
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Barnabas Health Ambulatory Care Center
200 South Orange Avenue
Livingston, NJ 07039
(973) 322-7000
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Jersey City Medical Center
355 Grand Street
Jersey City, NJ 07302
(201) 915-2000
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Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical Group at Monroe
800 Bunn Drive
Suite 303
Princeton, NJ 08540
(609) 655-5178
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The Bristol-Myers Squibb Children's Hospital at RWJUH
200 Somerset Street
New Brunswick, NJ 08901
(732) 828-3000
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RWJ University Hospital Hamilton
1 Hamilton Health Place
Hamilton, NJ 08690
(609) 586-7900
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RWJ University Hospital New Brunswick
1 Robert Wood Johnson Place
New Brunswick, NJ 08901
(732) 828-3000
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RWJ University Hospital Rahway
865 Stone Street
Rahway, NJ 07065
(732) 381-4200
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RWJ University Hospital Somerset
110 Rehill Avenue
Somerville, NJ 08876
(908) 685-2200
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