Thoracostomy is a minimally invasive procedure in which a doctor inserts a thin plastic tube into the pleural space — the area between the chest wall and lungs. They may attach the tube to a suction device to remove excess fluid or air.
They may also use the chest tube deployment to deliver medications into the pleural space. The doctor may use a computed tomography (CT), fluoroscopy, or ultrasound (US) to help guide the placement of the chest tube.
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Two thin membranes line the pleural space — one wraps around the lungs, and the other lines the inner wall of the chest. A small amount of lubricating fluid usually fills the space between these two membranes. The fluid helps the lungs move within the chest cavity during breathing.
Certain conditions and diseases may cause excess air, blood, or extra fluid to collect in the pleural space. This may compress or collapse the lung, making it difficult to breathe. A chest tube helps remove the excess fluid or air and allows the lung to expand, making breathing easier.
Your doctor may decide that you require long-term fluid drainage. If this is the case, you will receive a tunneled pleural drainage catheter.
This catheter is a treatment option for removing continual accumulations of fluid within the pleural space due to conditions such as infections, metastatic cancers, liver disease or advanced congestive heart failure.