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General Practice 2023

Pleurodese: what é, what it is for and how é done

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Pleurodese: what é, what it is for and how é done
Pleurodese: what é, what it is for and how é done
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Pleurodesis is a procedure that aims to eliminate the pleural space, which corresponds to the space located between the two membranes that cover the lung, preventing the accumulation of fluids and/or air in this region, which can directly interfere breathing, which can put the person's life at risk.

This procedure is performed under general anesthesia or sedation.

What is it for

Pleurodesis is a procedure that serves to prevent the occurrence of pleural effusion and pneumothorax, which are situations in which there is difficulty breathing, chest pain and cough, for example.

In the case of pleural effusion, fluid accumulates in the pleural space, which is the space between the lung and the outer membrane that covers this organ, while pneumothorax occurs when the air that should be in the lung escapes into the pleural space and lies between the lungs and the chest wall, increasing pressure on that organ and resulting in symptoms. Learn more about pneumothorax.

Thus, pleurodesis is performed with the objective of promoting the elimination of the pleural space, avoiding the accumulation of fluids or the presence of air in the pleural space, making it possible to prevent the recurrence of these situations.

How it's made

In general, pleurodesis can be performed through thoracotomy, in which the thoracic cavity is opened to visualize the lung and associated structures, or thoracoscopy, which corresponds to an exam in which the visualization of the pleural space through a flexible tube that has a small camera at its end.These procedures can be performed under general anesthesia or with the person awake under sedation.

According to the way in which the pleural space is eliminated, which may vary according to the recurrence of pulmonary alterations, pleurodesis can be classified as:

  • Chemical pleurodesis,in which drugs are administered with the aim of favoring adhesion formation of the lung and chest wall, eliminating the pleural space;
  • Abrasive pleurodesis,in which pleural cells are exfoliated, causing irritation of the local tissue and favoring the formation of scar tissue, which facilitates adherence between the lung and the chest wall.

In some cases, during pleurodesis, the doctor may perform another procedure that aims to drain the fluid and/or air that is around the lungs, promoting symptom relief.

Although rare, it is possible that there are some complications of the procedure, such as infection, fever and pain at the place where the procedure was performed and, therefore, it is important that the person is accompanied by the medical team so that they can necessary measures should be taken if necessary.

What is recovery like

Pleurodesis is usually indicated for the person to remain in the hospital for a few days so that complications can be prevented and that the pleural space has indeed been eliminated, in order to prevent the recurrence of pleural effusion or pneumothorax.

After discharge, it is important that the person changes the dressing daily according to the he alth professional's recommendation. In addition, you should avoid touching the wound, avoid taking medication or applying creams or ointments to the region without medical advice, avoid bathing or going to swimming pools until the wound is healed, and avoid picking up heavy objects.

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