Mesothelioma can sometimes cause the build-up of fluid in the pleural cavity, which is located between the two pleura sheets (see below diagram). When this happens, it is called a pleural effusion and can make it more difficult to breathe. Treatment for this is called pleurodesis. Your doctor will put medication which causes inflammation into the pleura. This causes the surfaces to become sticky and bond together, sealing the pleural cavity and preventing further build-up of fluid.
There are different ways to have this treatment. You may have it during a thoracoscopy or it may be inserted via a chest drain. A chest drain will be inserted under local anesthetic to drain away any fluid that has built up. When the fluid has stopped draining, the medication will be inserted through the chest drain. The chest drain is usually left in place for 24 -48 hours.
Pleuerodesis does not treat mesothelioma. It is used to manage pleural effusions which is a side-effect of mesothelioma.
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