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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. Nowadays 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.