Dr. Abraham “Avi” Lebenthal

Dr. Abraham “Avi” Lebenthal is an accomplished thoracic surgeon, currently practicing surgical oncology at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, and in the VA Boston Healthcare System. His primary research and clinical interests are esophageal diseases and mesothelioma.

Dr. Lebenthal is one of the few mesothelioma experts who works specifically with veterans, and he has military experience of his own. He spent 13 years working in various divisions of the Israeli Army, four of which were as a battalion physician. He is uniquely compassionate about veteran needs and care.

“I have a deep admiration and respect for those who served in the military. One of the things you learn is: There is no such thing as ‘I can’t.’ You learn to take responsibility and ownership. And you better have precise execution. It’s the same in medicine,” said Dr. Lebenthal.

Dr. Lebenthal was born in Israel and grew up in the United States. He speaks English, Spanish, Arabic, and Hebrew.

Dr. Lebenthal’s Location

Patients who want to learn more about working with Dr. Lebenthal can contact his office located at:

Brigham and Women’s Hospital

75 Francis Street

Boston, MA, 02115

(617) 732-7696

Dr. Lebenthal’s Career Highlights

A few of Dr. Lebenthal’s career highlights include:

  • Pioneered the mesothelioma team at VA Boston’s West Roxbury campus, providing care options for veterans
  • Current Director of the Mesothelioma Program at VA Boston Healthcare System
  • Member of the acclaimed International Mesothelioma Program (Dana Farber Cancer Institute)
  • Served in the Israeli Army as a battalion physician for four years

Dr. Lebenthal’s Background

Dr. Abraham Lebenthal obtained his M.D. at the Hebrew University Medical School in Jerusalem, before completing an internship at Proiah Hospital and his residency in general surgery at the Hadassah Ein Kerem Hebrew University Hospital. He spent a year at Mount Sinai Medical Center, learning and refining laparoscopic techniques, and then completed three years in the Thoracic Oncology division at Fox Chase Cancer Center.

He has completed two fellowships at Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH)—one in minimally invasive thoracic surgery and the other in cardiothoracic surgery. Dr. Lebenthal has also completed an MHA at the Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, and was mentored by the late Dr. David Sugarbaker, an accomplished mesothelioma expert.

Dr. Lebenthal was a pioneer member of the mesothelioma care team at VA Boston’s West Roxbury campus, providing options to veterans that previously weren’t available. His multi-disciplinary team includes mesothelioma surgeons, several specialized oncologists, nuclear medicine specialists, surgical residents and more.

He was part of the BWH Thoracic Surgery team that completed the first minimally invasive esophagectomies in Israel, which helped train their surgeons in the same procedure. Dr. Lebenthal also spent 13 years working in the Israeli Army, serving as a platoon commander and battalion physician.

Dr. Lebenthal has ample experience with a wide range of surgical treatments, including laparoscopy, video-assisted thoracic surgery (VATS), pleurectomy with decortication (P/D) and photodynamic therapy.

Medical Specializations

Dr. Lebenthal is a board-certified cardiothoracic surgeon who focuses solely on thoracic conditions, including lung cancer, mesothelioma and esophageal diseases. His subspecialties include minimally invasive thoracic surgery, thoracic surgical oncology and trauma surgery. He is also interested in hernia management, rib fractures and lung neoplasms.

Dr. Lebenthal is known to treat cancer aggressively and is part of an elite oncology team at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital.

Dr. Lebenthal’s Career Accomplishments

Dr. Abraham Lebenthal is one of the few mesothelioma experts who also specializes in veteran care, and has led an illustrious career.

A few of his career accomplishments include:

  • Leading pleural mesothelioma specialist
  • Fellowships in minimally invasive procedures and cardiothoracic surgery
  • Improved mesothelioma treatment access for veterans
  • Taught ground-breaking techniques to Israeli surgeons
  • Educates the next generation of medical care professionals

Awards & Honours

Dr. Lebenthal has received many awards throughout his career, including:

  • Compassionate Doctors
  • Golden Heart Award #1
  • Golden Heart Award #2
  • Golden Heart Award #3
  • Patients Choice Award – 2008 & 2009
  • Letter of Distinction for Bravery (Israeli Army)

Dr. Lebenthal’s Current Work

Dr. Abraham Lebenthal is currently Director of the Mesothelioma and Minimally Invasive Thoracic Surgery Program at VA Boston Healthcare System – West Roxbury Campus, a thoracic surgeon at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and a surgical professor at Harvard Medical School. He is one of the world’s leading experts in mesothelioma care, having dedicated much of his career to understanding, treating and eliminating mesothelioma.

Dr. Lebenthal’s research typically reviews outcome studies of mesothelioma patients as well as malignant and benign esophageal diseases. His clinical work overlaps with these interests, while also educating fellows and residents on innovative surgical techniques.

He is also a member of a few professional organizations, including:

  • The American Medical Society
  • Society of American Gastrointestinal and Endoscopic Surgeons
  • Israeli Surgical Society

Dr. Lebenthal continues to specialize in veteran care, utilizing minimally invasive techniques to treat a range of lung and esophageal cancers, including mesothelioma. He is certified to work in Massachusetts, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island.

Dr. Lebenthal’s Notable Works

While Dr. Lebenthal is recognized for numerous research contributions, one of his most interesting works was his phone triage model for veterans with suspected pleural mesothelioma. As mentioned, Dr. Lebenthal specializes in veteran care and has become an advocate for military service people diagnosed with mesothelioma.

The phone triage system is an initiative that allows veterans to call in and speak directly with healthcare experts in the Veterans Health Administration. Veterans can get screened for their condition right away, which increases the rate at which they can receive treatment.

Though it was just an initial experiment, Dr. Lebenthal’s phone triage system resulted in increased access to medical consultation for veterans, and has helped put many of them on the correct course of treatment quickly.

Healing Philosophy

Dr. Lebenthal is known for being a compassionate oncologist who genuinely cares about the patients he works with. He is passionate about life, and takes pleasure in caring for people with complex medical problems. His empathy and kindness have earned him three Golden Heart Awards as well as a Compassionate Doctor Award.

Dr. Lebenthal also follows the mission and values of the two medical facilities he works for both of which reflect the caring, yet leading-edge doctor he is known to be.

The VA Boston Healthcare System provides access and care to veterans with malignant pleural mesothelioma, treating patients with the extrapleural pneumonectomy (EPP) and pleurectomy and decortication (P/D) surgical procedures. VA Boston treats eligible veterans regardless of their location, aiming to assist as many people as possible.

Brigham and Women’s Hospital’s (BWH) mission statement revolved around serving the community, providing the highest quality of care, improving treatment through new research, and teaching the new generation of doctors and health professionals. The Hospital prides itself on its integrity and empathy, believing that the future of healthcare will be transformed through compassionate care, education and science. BWH also values collaboration, inclusion and professionalism.

Dr. Lebenthal uses minimally invasive surgical techniques whenever possible, which is another approach in his care philosophy.

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