Dr. Abraham Lebenthal

Dr. Avi Lebenthal

Thoracic Surgical Oncologist and Veteran

Dr. Lebenthal is one of the most talented and accomplished pleural mesothelioma surgeons in the country. With focuses on minimally-invasive thoracic surgery, Dr. Lebenthal believes in putting patient health and longevity first. His dedication to patient and veteran care has made him a highly respected mesothelioma specialist.

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About Dr. Lebenthal

Dr. Abraham “Avi” Lebenthal is a thoracic surgical oncologist who specializes in pleural mesothelioma treatment and research for civilians and veterans.

Originally from Israel, Dr. Lebenthal is an Israeli Army veteran with a unique perspective on veterans’ health care that comes from his own experience serving in his country’s military.

Dr. Lebenthal received his medical degree from the Hebrew University Medical School in Jerusalem where he also completed his residency in General Surgery.

Dr. Lebenthal also spent one year in a clinical application at Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York learning advanced laparoscopic techniques — a branch of minimally-invasive surgical procedures.

Finding a passion for minimally-invasive surgeries, Dr. Lebenthal then completed fellowships at Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) in minimally invasive thoracic surgery and cardiothoracic surgery.

While at BWH, Dr. Lebenthal trained under the late Dr. David Sugarbaker, the developer of the aggressive, curative surgery for pleural mesothelioma patients — the extrapleural pneumonectomy (EPP).

In addition to learning the standard curative surgery for pleural mesothelioma, Dr. Lebenthal also learned to use the latest in technology advancements for surgery, including the use of video-assisted thoracic surgery (VATS).

After his fellowships at BWH, Dr. Lebenthal became the attending thoracic surgeon for Fox Chase Medical Center.

Dr. Lebenthal then rejoined BWH in 2011 and is now part of the Brigham and Women’s Hospital Division of Thoracic Surgery and is the Director of Minimally Invasive Thoracic Surgery for the VA Boston Healthcare System.


Dr. Avi Lebenthal was born in Jerusalem, Israel and was raised in the United States. He holds dual Israeli and U.S. citizenship.

Having served in the Israeli Army as an infantry unit commander and physician, Dr. Lebenthal learned how to lead under pressure, a quality that has served him well as a surgeon. It’s clear that his frontline military experience has given Dr. Lebenthal great credibility among his veteran patients who have tremendous respect for him.

Dr. Lebenthal attended the top medical school in Israel — the Hebrew University Medical School.

After completing training and fellowships in the U.S., Dr. Lebenthal and a team from Brigham and Women’s Hospital traveled to the Hebrew University Medical School to perform and teach Israeli surgeons the minimally invasive surgical techniques the team had developed and perfected at BWH.

After serving as a leading Thoracic Surgeon at Fox Chase Medical Center in Philadelphia, Dr. Lebenthal returned to BWH. He continues to work at BWH and also splits his time between the Boston VA and Harvard Medical School, instructing thoracic surgery to the next generation of world-class surgeons.

Dr. Lebenthal is a highly respected mesothelioma doctor, known for his compassion. He is fluent in English, Spanish, Hebrew, and Arabic.

Dr. Lebenthal’s Medical Specializations

Dr. Lebenthal has several specializations though his primary specialty is thoracic surgical oncology in treating lung cancers, mesothelioma, and diseases that affect the gastroesophageal area.

In addition to the specific conditions that Dr. Lebenthal specializes in treating, he’s also concentrated his practice on minimally invasive surgical techniques.

In particular, Dr. Lebenthal has dedicated his career to developing and refining surgical procedures using VATS technology. VATS allows surgeons to have increased visibility inside the thoracic cavity when they would otherwise be limited in their ability to access certain areas of the thorax.

VATS surgeries are especially important for patients such as mesothelioma patients, who may not be able to withstand a full thoracotomy (open chest surgery).

VATS helps reduce the risk of surgical complications in mesothelioma patients and improves recovery times as it doesn’t require a large chest incision.

Pleural Mesothelioma

One of the specializations that Dr. Lebenthal is most well-known for is his ability to treat pleural mesothelioma — a rare and complex disease only a small number of surgeons specialize in.

Dr. Lebenthal has taken his focus in thoracic oncological surgeries and combined it with his skills in minimally invasive surgery to put patient health and care first.

Dr. Lebenthal trained at BWH under the late Dr. David Sugarbaker, where he learned the highly technical and complex surgery for pleural mesothelioma, the EPP.

In addition to the EPP, Dr. Lebenthal is also skilled in treating mesothelioma patients with lung-saving surgery called pleurectomy with decortication (P/D).

Veterans Treatment

As one of only two mesothelioma specialists within the VA Healthcare System, Dr. Avi Lebenthal is an incredible asset to veterans diagnosed with mesothelioma.

As a military veteran himself, Dr. Lebenthal is deeply empathetic towards the struggles that veterans face and their specific needs following a mesothelioma diagnosis.

Being deeply devoted to improving quality, affordable, and accessible healthcare for veterans, Dr. Lebenthal and his team implemented a telephone triage system for veterans experiencing mesothelioma symptoms.

In the experiment, Dr. Lebenthal and his team assessed the feasibility of a national phone system that would allow veterans to call in and describe their symptoms to get access to healthcare quicker.

By triaging veterans by phone, it allows VA health administrators to connect patients with the appropriate specialist sooner, allowing them to get the right type of care plan they need.

Dr. Lebenthal’s Work at Brigham and Women’s Hospital

Dr. Lebenthal is currently the Director of Minimally Invasive Thoracic Surgery at BWH.

Dr. Lebenthal’s specialization and focus on minimally-invasive surgical techniques have allowed the Dana Farber Cancer Center at BWH to become a world-class treatment facility.

The thoracic surgery team at BWH is dedicated to patient care by shortening operating and recovery times, reducing morbidity rates, and improving surgical success rates with minimally invasive techniques.

Did You Know?

Dr. Lebenthal performs complex surgeries like the EPP and the P/D using the latest technology in VATS and robotic-assisted surgery.

Knowing that treating mesothelioma is a team approach, Dr. Lebenthal works closely with other mesothelioma specialists at BWH to ensure that all patients receive a multimodal treatment strategy.

Dr. Lebenthal recognizes the critical importance that having a multidisciplinary treatment team provides to the patient. He stresses that there is no one-size-fits-all solution to treating mesothelioma.

He explains that treatment is “about knowing how to tailor a solution for an individual patient.”

To support this patient care philosophy, Dr. Lebenthal and all mesothelioma specialists at BWH work together to design a treatment strategy that includes not only the minimally-invasive surgeries that Dr. Lebenthal is known for but also chemotherapy, radiation, and new treatments being investigated in clinical trials as well.

Working With Dr. Avi Lebenthal

Pleural mesothelioma patients, both civilian and veteran, can rest assured that they are in capable hands with Dr. Avi Lebenthal.

A highly respected mesothelioma specialist with over 20 years of practice, Dr. Lebenthal has the practical and research experience necessary to offer the best mesothelioma treatments.

Being the winner of a Compassionate Doctors Award and the three-time winner of the Golden Heart Award, Dr. Lebenthal is also recognized for his considerable kindness and humanity he displays towards his patients.

For more information on working with Dr. Lebenthal, contact the Mesothelioma Cancer Network today.

Mesothelioma Support Team
Stephanie KiddWritten by:


Stephanie Kidd grew up in a family of civil servants, blue-collar workers, and medical caregivers. Upon graduating Summa Cum Laude from Stetson University, she began her career specializing in worker safety regulations and communications. Now, a proud member of the American Medical Writers Association (AMWA) and Editor-in-Chief of the Mesothelioma Cancer Network, Stephanie serves as a voice for mesothelioma victims and their families.

View 2 Sources
  1. Brigham and Women’s Hospital, “Our Thoracic Team: Abraham Lebenthal, MD, MHA” Retrieved from: http://www.brighamandwomens.org/Departments_and_Services/surgery/thoracic-surgery/surgeons/lebenthal.aspx. Accessed on January 9, 2018.
  2. Journal of Surgical Research, “Open access phone triage for veterans with suspected malignant pleural mesothelioma.” Retrieved from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27979465. Accessed on January 9, 2018.
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