Pleurodesis is a procedure where a mildly irritant drug is introduced into the space between the inner wall of the chest and the outer lining of the lung (pleural space). This is done to prevent the recurrence of a lung collapse (pneumothorax) or accumulation of air or fluid in the space (pleural effusion).
The procedure can be done in two different ways:
Accumulation of fluid or air in the pleural space may cause difficulty in breathing. By performing pleurodesis, breathing activity will be improved. The doctor will also recommend this procedure to prevent the accumulation of fluid or air to happen in the future.
If there is already an accumulation of fluid or air in the space between your inner chest wall and outer lining of the lung, a tube is surgically placed into the chest to drain it out. Once it is completely drained, the irritant drug will be injected through this drain commonly in a liquid form. Then it will be sealed for approximately 2 hours. It will be re-opened if there is still more fluid or air present and usually left in place within 24-72 hours or even longer before it is removed.
Like any other medical techniques, this also involves certain risks such as:
There are about 7-8 out of 10 cases (70%-80%) that collection of fluid or air in the pleural space is likely to happen again. If it does, your doctor may require another pleurodesis procedure and it may not be as successful as the first.
Pleurodesis generally requires you to stay in the hospital for a longer period but the doctor may recommend a small flexible tube (indwelling pleural catheter) to be surgically inserted in the chest where you can go home with it and be taught how to drain or a nurse will visit you at home to drain it themselves.