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Dr. Avi Lebenthal, pleural mesothelioma specialist

Dr. Abraham “Avi” Lebenthal

Thoracic Surgeon

Dr. Abraham “Avi” Lebenthal is a renowned thoracic surgeon specializing in treating lung cancer, mesothelioma, and esophageal diseases. Dr. Lebenthal is well-known for helping U.S. veterans access healthcare quickly. He’s a leader in thoracic surgery and recently returned to his native Israel after spending over 15 years in the United States.


About Dr. Avi Lebenthal

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

As a veteran of the Israeli Army, Dr. Lebenthal is one of the few mesothelioma experts who specifically treat veterans. 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 veterans’ needs and veteran 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.”
– Dr. Avi Lebenthal, mesothelioma specialist

Dr. Lebenthal currently resides in Israel, serving as thoracic section chief at Assuta Medical Center in Ashdod.

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Dr. Lebenthal’s Professional Background

Dr. Abraham Lebenthal was born in Israel and raised in the United States. He speaks Arabic, English, Hebrew, and Spanish. He earned his medical degree from Hadassah Medical School at Hebrew University in Israel.

After completing training and fellowships in the United States, Dr. Lebenthal and a medical team from Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) in Boston, Massachusetts, traveled to the Hebrew University Medical School to perform and teach Israeli surgeons the minimally invasive surgical techniques the team had developed and perfected together.

Career Accomplishments

Some of Dr. Lebenthal’s career accomplishments include:

  • Educating the next generation of medical care professionals
  • Improving mesothelioma treatment access for veterans
  • Pursuing fellowships in minimally invasive procedures and cardiothoracic surgery
  • Teaching groundbreaking techniques to Israeli surgeons

Awards & Honors

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 Medical Specialties

Dr. Lebenthal is a board-certified thoracic surgeon focusing 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 also has experience treating hernia management, rib fractures, and lung neoplasms.

Dr. Lebenthal has developed and refined surgical procedures using video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery (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 mesothelioma patients who may not be able to withstand a full thoracotomy (open chest surgery). VATS also helps reduce the risk of surgical complications in mesothelioma patients and improves recovery times.

Get insight into questions to ask Dr. Lebenthal or another mesothelioma specialist during your initial visit by downloading our Free Checklist: Questions to Ask Your Doctor.

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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 treated by few specialists.

Dr. Lebenthal focuses on thoracic oncological surgeries. He trained at Brigham and Women’s Hospital under the late Dr. David Sugarbaker, where he learned how to perform the extrapleural pneumonectomy (EPP), a highly technical and complex surgery for pleural mesothelioma.

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

Treating Veterans With Mesothelioma

As one of only a few mesothelioma specialists within the United States VA Healthcare System before his relocation to Israel in 2020, Dr. Lebenthal was an incredible asset to veterans with mesothelioma.

He served as Director of Minimally Invasive Thoracic Surgery for the VA Boston Healthcare System from 2010 to 2020.

As an Israeli military veteran, Dr. Lebenthal was deeply empathetic toward the challenges that veterans experience, particularly their struggles 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 allowing veterans to call and describe their symptoms to access VA health care faster. This triaging phone program for veterans allows VA health administrators to connect patients with specialists sooner.

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Find Other Specialists Like Dr. Avi Lebenthal

A highly respected surgeon with over 20 years of experience, Dr. Lebenthal spent much of his career helping patients diagnosed with mesothelioma in the United States.

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

To find other top mesothelioma doctors like Dr. Lebenthal in your area, try using our Free Doctor Match.

Mesothelioma Hope has no affiliation with and is not endorsed or sponsored by Dr. Abraham “Avi” Lebenthal. Any contact information listed is for informational purposes only. You have the right to contact Dr. Abraham “Avi” Lebenthal directly.

Jenna TozziWritten by:

Director of Patient Advocacy

Jenna Tozzi, RN, is the Director of Patient Advocacy at Mesothelioma Hope. With more than 15 years of experience as an adult and pediatric oncology nurse navigator, Jenna provides exceptional guidance and support to mesothelioma patients and their loved ones. Jenna has been featured in Oncology Nursing News and is a member of the Academy of Oncology Nurse & Patient Navigators & the American Nurses Association.

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Our Promise to You
  1. LinkedIn. “Abraham (Avi) Lebenthal.” Retrieved from: Accessed on May 22, 2024.
  2. National Library of Medicine (NIH). Open access phone triage for veterans with suspected malignant pleural mesothelioma. Retrieved from Accessed on May 22, 2024.
  3. U.S. News and World Report. Dr. Abraham Lebenthal, MD. Retrieved from Accessed on May 22, 2024.
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