Pleurodesis - Mesothelioma Treatment
Many patients suffering from mesothelioma may experience shortness of breath due to a fluid buildup in the pleural cavity. To ease this symptom, a surgeon may perform a pleurodesis, which can stop this buildup of fluid. A pleurodesis is a form of palliative surgery, meaning it can treat symptoms, but not the disease itself.
During a pleurodesis, the space between the pleura is sealed so fluid cannot accumulate there. To do this, a chemical agent is introduced into the space, causing the tissues to inflame and consequently close the space between the layers.
For low-risk mesothelioma patients, a pleurodesis can be performed outside an operating room. The patient will be administered a sedative and general anesthetic. Then, a chest tube will be inserted to remove any excess fluid. After the fluid buildup has been removed, a chemical agent, usually talc or doxycycline, will be inserted via the chest tube. Next, a suction device will bring the two lung surfaces together. If the procedure needs to be performed in an operating room, a general anesthetic will be given to the patient. A physician will make a cut in the chest and place a video-assisted thorascope (VAT) to help see inside the lung. This will also help the surgeon to insert the talc or doxycycline onto the pleural surface.