On the day of your mesothelioma surgery

You will either go into hospital  the night before, or on the day of your operation. 

You are likely to be in hospital for between 7 to 15 days depending on the type of operation you have and your recovery.

If you have any questions about your operation the nurses can arrange for a member of the surgical team to come and talk to you. You sign a consent form for the operation if you didn't do it at the pre assessment clinic.

You might have a drip (intravenous infusion) put into your arm before your surgery so that you can have fluids through it. This makes sure you are not dehydrated before your operation.

On the day of your mesothelioma surgery

On the day of your operation you won't be able to eat or drink.

If you have them, you must take off your:

  • jewellery, except for a wedding ring
  • make up, including nail varnish
  • contact lenses
  • false teeth (you can take these off in the anaesthetic room)

You change into a hospital gown. Your nurse will help you to put on elastic stockings, called TED stockings. They help to stop you getting blood clots in your legs after surgery.

You might also have injections of heparin, tinzaparin, or dalteparin before the surgery and for 2 weeks afterwards. These drugs help to stop your blood from clotting. You usually have them as a small injection under the skin. 

About an hour before your operation is due to start, your nurse will give you a tablet or injection to help you relax. This is called pre-medication. It makes your mouth feel dry but you can rinse your mouth with water to keep it moist.

Your nurse and a porter take you to theatre on a trolley.

Having an anaesthetic

You have an anaesthetic so that you can’t feel anything during the operation. You have this in the anaesthetic room, next to the operating theatre.

All the doctors and nurses wear theatre gowns, hats and masks. This reduces your chance of getting an infection.

The anaesthetist puts a small tube (cannula) into a vein in your arm. You have any fluids and medicines you need through the cannula including the general anaesthetic. This sends you into a deep sleep. When you wake up, the operation will be over.

Before you go to sleep your anaesthetist might put a small tube through the skin of your back. It goes into the fluid around your spinal cord. They can attach a pump to this tube to give you pain medicines during and after the operation.

  • Malignant pleural mesothelioma: ESMO Clinical Practice Guidelines for diagnosis, treatment and follow-up 
    S Popat and others
    Annals of Oncology, 2021. Volume 33, Issue 2, Pages 129-142

  • ERS/ESTS/EACTS/ESTRO guidelines for the management of malignant pleural mesothelioma
    I Opitz  and others
    European Journal of Cardiothoracic Surgery, 2020  Volume 58, Issue 1, Pages 1-24

Last reviewed: 
22 Jun 2023
Next review due: 
22 Jun 2026

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