Specialty: Surgery for Veterans
Boston VA Hospital
West Roxbury Campus, Bldg. 2, Rm. 115
1400 VFW Pkwy
West Roxbury, MA 02132
A Pleural Specialist in the VA
Mesothelioma is so rare that patients need to see a specialist. A regular oncologist isn’t up-to-date on current life-saving treatments. Dr. Avi Lebenthal is a pleural mesothelioma surgeon. The unique thing about Dr. Lebenthal is that he specializes in treating veterans with mesothelioma.
Many veterans were exposed to asbestos while serving in the military. Dr. Lebenthal is one of two mesothelioma specialists in the VA Healthcare System. Dr. Lebenthal practices in the Boston, Massachusetts area. He sees patients at the Boston VA Medical Center and the Brigham and Women’s Hospital.
Dr. Lebenthal was a combat physician in the Israeli Army. His experience as a military physician gives him a special connection to men and women veterans. Especially those who were exposed to asbestos during their military career.
As a veteran, Dr. Lebenthal understands the medical issues many veterans are forced to deal with after asbestos exposure in the military. He channels his own personal commitment to care for veterans who have mesothelioma.
“As an officer, I learned the importance of service, dedication and commitment to a larger cause,” Dr. Lebenthal said.
Becoming a World-Renowned Mesothelioma Specialist
Dr. Avi Lebenthal undertook his medical training at the Hebrew University, located in Jerusalem, Israel. He graduated in 1993. He began his medical training shortly thereafter. He performed his residency training at the Hadassah Ein Karem University in 2003. Dr. Lebenthal furthered his medical training in the United States. He received training at the Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York City. During his training, Dr. Lebenthal studied general surgery in order to be able to care for a variety of surgical patients.
Following his training in general surgery, Dr. Lebenthal undertook a fellowship at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. He remained in the Boston area and became Board Certified in general surgery in 2004. He set up a practice in Boston, where he continues to see patients.
Dr. Avi Lebenthal is the director of the mesothelioma program at the Boston VA Healthcare System. He is fluent in several languages, including English, Arabic, Hebrew and Spanish. He uses his experience as a former battalion physician in the Israeli Army to reach out to American veterans. He is also a member of the International Mesothelioma Program, which helps in putting together research efforts worldwide to treat the disease.
Treating Veterans with Mesothelioma
Dr. Avi Lebenthal is the only mesothelioma specialist in the VA on the east coast. He specializes in using minimally invasive surgery. He feels this approach is better for patients with mesothelioma. The recovery time with less invasive procedures is shorter after surgery. This gives patients a better quality of life after surgery.
Dr. Lebenthal has trained in a variety of therapeutic approaches to treating mesothelioma.
Here are some ways Dr. Lebenthal treats pleural mesothelioma:
- Pleurectomy with decortication (P/D) surgery. This is a type of surgery that does not remove much of the healthy lung tissue. Instead the surgeon removes any visible evidence of mesothelioma the chest and lung. He also removes the lining of the diseased lung. By sparing healthy lung, patients often have a better quality of life.
- Extrapleural pneumonectomy (EPP). This was the first effective surgery for pleural mesothelioma patients. During the procedure, the surgeon removes the diseased lung. He also removes areas in the chest cavity where he can find tumors. Surgeons may use this procedure if they feel a P/D can’t effectively remove tumor from the space between the lobes of the lung.
- Video-assisted thoracic surgery (VATS). This is when an endoscope is inserted into the pleural space through tiny incisions in the thorax. The endoscope has a tiny video camera at the end of a tube that also has surgical instruments that assist in removing various types of lung cancer, including mesothelioma.
Aside from the above surgical procedures, Dr. Lebenthal uses multimodal treatment. Multimodal treatment is a combination of surgery, radiation or chemotherapy. It may include experimental treatments too. There are several ways to combine these treatments and every doctor is different. Yet, it is accepted by almost all mesothelioma specialists that multimodal treatment is the best way to extend life expectancy.
Using VA Benefits to See Dr. Lebenthal
VA benefits can pay for mesothelioma through the Boston VA. This is substantially less costly than treatment available at a non-veteran’s hospital. Oftentimes, VA health care is free.
You can see Dr. Lebenthal even if you don’t live near Boston. Dr. Lebenthal has a team of advocates that can help you.
The VA system in Boston treats many patients with mesothelioma who do not live in the immediate area. Patients may stay in special housing for out-of-state patients. Dr. Lebenthal has received several awards for making an effort to help out-of-state veterans get specialized mesothelioma treatment.
“As a nation, the most valuable resource we have is our people,” says Dr. Avi Lebenthal. “Morally and ethically we are obliged to provide them with the best possible care, especially our veterans.”
Getting Connected to Dr. Avi Lebenthal
Many mesothelioma veterans have developed a profound respect for Dr. Avi Lebenthal. Not only is he a top-notch specialist, he served in the Israeli military. He can relate to veterans in a way that most mesothelioma doctors can’t. Dr. Lebenthal is also dedicated to treating veterans coming through the Boston VA Hospital.
Veterans choose Dr. Lebenthal because:
- He is a top pleural mesothelioma surgeon.
- He is part of a multidisciplinary team of mesothelioma specialists.
- He works in the VA Healthcare System.
If you are looking for a mesothelioma specialist in the VA, Dr. Lebenthal could be right for you. Though he’s located in Boston, it doesn’t matter where you live. Veterans can from anywhere in the country can get treatment at the Boston VA. Find out more about treatment in the VA and veterans benefits now.