Dr. David Sugarbaker – Pioneer of Extrapleural Pneumonectomy

In addition to being a pioneer of the surgical procedure known as extrapleural pneumonectomy, Dr. Sugarbaker was a world-renowned surgeon and a leading mesothelioma specialist. He passed away on Aug. 29 at the age of 65. He was born in Missouri and was the son of Everett Dornbush Sugarbaker, a surgical oncologist, and Gevena Ione, a registered nurse. He grew up in Jefferson City and was one of 10 children. He graduated from Wheaton College and Cornell University Medical School.

Wheaton College

After completing his undergraduate degree at Wheaton College, Dr. Sugarbaker trained at Cornell University Medical School. He completed his fellowships in cardiac and thoracic surgery. After completing his residency, he returned to Boston as chief of the Brigham and Women’s Hospital’s division of thoracic surgery. He also developed the first general thoracic surgical training track.

Dr. Sugarbaker was one of the world’s most prominent thoracic surgeons. He spent nearly 30 years working in the field of thoracic surgery. During this time, he developed extrapleural pneumonectomy, which is one of the most aggressive surgeries available for the treatment of pulmonary tumors. His work at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston and Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston helped him develop this groundbreaking surgery.

Mesothelioma Patients

While he has since retired from practicing medicine, Sugarbaker continued to innovate in the field. In addition to his pioneering work, he also founded research and treatment centers for mesothelioma patients. His influence in thoracic surgery cannot be overemphasized. Aside from being a true pioneer, Dr. Sugarbaker also paved the way for mesothelioma survivors to receive quality care.

A pioneer of the procedure, Sugarbaker pioneered the concept of extrapleural lung cancer in the United States. After years of studies, his patients remained free of the disease. Aside from developing innovative treatments for mesothelioma, he was also an early advocate of lung transplantation. His success in this field was a result of his tireless research.

Treating Mesothelioma

Although best known for his work as a pioneer of extrapleural pneumonectomy, Dr. Sugarbaker pioneered other procedures for treating mesothelioma. The procedure of pleurectomy and decortication involves removing the lung lining and the cancerous part of the lung. It is more successful than EPP because the lung remains intact.

While Dr. Sugarbaker was a pioneer in the field of thoracic surgery, he also contributed to the scientific research on the disease. His many publications and clinical studies in mesothelioma are a testament to his work. He was the founder of one of the world’s most innovative mesothelioma treatment centers.

Clinical Program

A pioneer of mesothelioma treatment, Dr. Sugarbaker was an acclaimed surgeon in the field of mesothelioma for nearly 30 years. He developed intraoperative heated chemotherapy and directed a clinical program in mesothelioma research at Baylor College of Medicine. This groundbreaking surgery continues to advance the treatment of mesothelioma and is now one of the most widely performed surgical procedures in the world.

In addition to pioneering extrapleural pneumonectomy, Dr. Sugarbaker also pioneered lung transplantation and mesothelioma research. His research led to a new multimodal approach to the disease. In the 1990s, he also established a center for mesothelioma patients. He is still one of the most experienced doctors performing this type of procedure.

Types of Lung Cancer Surgery

The extrapleural pneumonectomy is one of the most important types of lung cancer surgery. The removal of the entire lung and its lining has improved the quality of life for patients with pleural mesothelioma. It is a life-saving surgery that extends the lives of asbestos victims. And because it is a surgical advancement, it improves the chances of survival.


As a pioneer of extrapleural pneumonectomy, Dr. Sugarbaker is regarded as the father of this procedure. His legacy includes significant contributions to academic general thoracic surgery and mesothelioma research. He was the founding director of the Mesothelioma Treatment Center at Baylor. His work paved the way for the modernization of mesothelioma surgery read more.