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ICD-9-CM 34.51-34.52

Decortication is a medical procedure involving the surgical removal of the surface layer, membrane, or fibrous cover of an organ. The procedure is usually performed when the lung is covered by a thick, inelastic pleural peel restricting lung expansion. In a non-medical aspect, decortication is the removal of the bark, husk, or outer layer, or peel of an object.[1] It may also be done in the treatment of chronic laryngitis.


Decortication is performed under general anaesthesia. It is a major thoracic operation requiring a full thoracotomy. Since the early '90s this procedure can be performed using thoracoscopy. All fibrous tissue is removed from the visceral pleural peel and pus is subsequently drained from the pleural space.[2]


  1. ^ The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition. Copyright © 2000 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by the Houghton Mifflin Company
  2. ^ Sharma, Dr. Sat (2006-06-23). "Pulmonary Empyema". WebMD. Retrieved 2007-02-18.