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  • You may need pleurodesis if you have air or fluid in your pleural space. Your pleural space is found between your lungs and your inner chest wall. When air in your pleural space, you have a pneumothorax. Fluid in your pleural space is called a pleural effusion. You may also have cancer cells in your pleural space called a malignant pleural effusion (MPE). An MPE may be caused by cancer in your lungs, breasts, or lymph nodes. Other diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis may cause build up of substances inside the pleural space. These conditions cause pressure against your lungs, which could result in trouble breathing or chest pain.
  • You may have a surgical or chemical pleurodesis. Surgical pleurodesis is done in an operating room. Chemical pleurodesis is usually done in your hospital room. Before either procedure, fluid and air are drained from the pleural space through a tube in your chest. Your caregiver will use chemicals, powder, or pieces of cloth to irritate the walls of your pleural space. Pleurodesis causes the walls of your pleural space to swell and become attached to each other. This may help prevent air or fluid from collecting in your pleural space. Pleurodesis may decrease your pain and help you breathe easier.



  • Take your medicine as directed. Call your healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.
  • Pain medicine: You may need medicine to take away or decrease pain.
    • Learn how to take your medicine. Ask what medicine and how much you should take. Be sure you know how, when, and how often to take it.
    • Do not wait until the pain is severe before you take your medicine. Tell caregivers if your pain does not decrease.
    • Pain medicine can make you dizzy or sleepy. Prevent falls by calling someone when you get out of bed or if you need help.

Ask your caregiver when to return for a follow-up visit.

You may need to have another chest x-ray to check your lungs after pleurodesis. If you were sent home with a chest tube in place, your caregiver may need to remove it. If you have cancer, you may need radiation therapy within 15 days after pleurodesis. This is to prevent cancer cells from spreading over the area where your chest tube was placed.

Ask for information about where and when to go for follow-up visits:

For continuing care, treatments, or home services, ask for more information.

Travel guidelines.

Do not travel by air or drive a car until your caregiver tells you that it is OK.


Rest when you feel it is needed. Slowly start to do more each day. Return to your daily activities as directed.

Do not smoke:

If you smoke, it is never too late to quit. Ask for information about how to stop smoking if you need help.


  • Your skin is itchy, swollen, or has a rash.
  • You feel dizzy.
  • You have a fever. You cough more than usual.
  • You have questions or concerns about your procedure, medicine, or care.


  • You have trouble breathing.
  • You have chest pain.
  • Your stitches come apart.
  • Your chest tube comes out.

For support and information:

  • American Thoracic Society
    61 Broadway
    New York , NY 10006-2755
    Phone: 1- 212 - 315-8600
    Web Address:

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.

Learn more about Pleurodesis (Aftercare Instructions)

Associated drugs

Micromedex® Care Notes