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Thoracentesis is a common procedure used for the diagnosis and treatment of pleural fluid (pleural effusion or lung fluid). Your pleura is a large, thin sheet of tissue that wraps around the outside of your lungs and lines the inside of your chest cavity. A thoracentesis can be performed with or without ultrasound guidance, and a small needle is used to enter the fluid. Usually, only local anesthesia is needed for adequate patient comfort.

About Thoracentesis

  • Pleural effusion results from many conditions, including post surgery, congestive heart failure, liver disease, kidney disease, infections, cancer, lupus, TB, and radiation exposure
  • The diagnosis of pleural effusions depends on obtaining a sample of pleural fluid
  • Performing thoracentesis allows the pleural fluid to be analyzed for chemical content, infectious problems and abnormal cells, including cancer
  • If malignancy is suspected and pleural fluid is non-diagnostic, medical thoracoscopy is usually performed
  • The safest way to sample the fluid is by thoracentesis
  • In most cases, ultrasound guidance is used during thoracentesis to improve procedure safety and to determine the optimal location to sample
  • Thoracentesis can remove pleural fluid resulting in improvement in shortness of breath, coughing, hypoxemia (low oxygen levels), and the inability to lie flat


Appointments & Referrals

NOTE: All referred patients will still have the option of continuing treatment with their primary care physicians after the procedure.

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