We performed early decortication procedure to 22 cases during the period of February 1991 to December 1993 because of postpneumonic empyema. Fourteen of them were male and 8 of them were female. We evaluated these cases retrospectively. Decortication was saved for the patients that antimicrobial therapy and closed-tube drainage failed in treatment and performed on the 10-15th day after the diagnosis was established. Indications for the decortication were persistent fever (7), pulmonary air leakage (4), localised effusion (4), persistent respiratory distress (3) and pleural thickening without resolution (18). Decortication was performed through the standard posterolateral thoracotomy. Patients were discharged on the 6-9th postoperative day with minimal morbidity and none mortality. Because of the simplicity of the procedure; short hospitalisation period, low mortality and morbidity rates and good results were achieved with early decortication.