Pleurocentesis/Thoracentesis Procedure (Pleural Effusion Treatment) in NYC
If you are exhibiting symptoms indicating pleural effusion, such as a chronic cough, shortness of breath, or chest pain, Dr. Marc Bowen may recommend that you undergo a pleurocentesis procedure (also known as a thoracentesis) in order to accurately diagnose your condition, relieve your symptoms, and improve lung function. An in-office chest ultrasound may be necessary first to determine if there is fluid in the pleural space.
What is pleurocentesis?
A pleurocentesis, also known as a thoracentesis or pleural effusion treatment, is a procedure used to remove excess fluid from the pleural space (the space between the lungs and the wall of the chest) for diagnostic or therapeutic purposes. Typically, the pleural space is filled with a small amount of fluid, but fluid may accumulate in your chest cavity for various reasons, creating a condition called pleural effusion.
In conjunction with a pleurocentesis, a doctor may take a sample of the pleural fluid or a small piece of tissue from the outer pleura for testing. Testing will help to confirm or rule out infections or diseases such as cancer, pneumonia, congestive heart failure, or pulmonary hypertension.
What are the pleurocentesis/thoracentesis steps?
Dr. Bowen performs the pleurocentesis procedure in a hospital setting. The procedure involves injecting a local anesthetic between your ribs in the area where fluid was specifically located via an ultrasound. Next, a needle will be inserted through the ribs and into the chest wall using ultrasound guidance. Using the needle, Dr. Bowen will slowly withdraw the pleural fluid and, if necessary, will send a sample to the laboratory for analysis. In cases where a more detailed pleural biopsy is necessary, Dr. Bowen will use a biopsy needle with a small hook at the end that can take a tiny tissue sample from the outer pleura.
What are the advantages of pleurocentesis/thoracentesis?
- Can be helpful in relieving symptoms such as shortness of breath, coughing, and hypoxemia (low oxygen levels)
- Provides valuable information that can be used to diagnose infectious problems, inflammatory problems, and cancer
- Performed using ultrasound guidance to determine the optimal location for inserting the needle to remove fluid and gather a sample
- Only requires the use of local anesthetic
What can I expect after undergoing a pleurocentesis/thoracentesis procedure?
After undergoing a pleurocentesis procedure, Dr. Bowen will send out any samples taken during the procedure for testing. Directly following the procedure, additional chest imaging may be necessary to ensure no complications. With the pleurocentesis results, Dr. Bowen will be able to make a diagnosis and explain the next steps for treatment. In most cases, recovery is quick and patients are able to go home the same day.
For an appointment or for more information about pleurocentesis and pleural effusion treatment, contact our office to schedule an evaluation with Dr. Marc Bowen.