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What Is Talc Pleurodesis?

Legally Reviewed by Joseph P. Williams on April 17, 2024

Talc Pleurodesis can be done in two different ways. The surgeon will either use a mechanical procedure, such as abrasion or partial pleurectomy, to close the space, or a chemical irritant to adhere the lung to the wall of the chest, sealing up the space in between. Both work by causing irritation.

Talc pleurodesis installs talc in the pleural space to intentionally cause inflammation and fibrosis, which closes up the space between the lungs and the chest wall. During this procedure, a surgeon will typically spray a mixture of talc and saline through a tube into the chest area that surrounds the lungs. It may also be applied in powder form.

With our firm’s commitment to helping families navigate the challenges posed by asbestos-related health issues, we offer insights into both the medical and legal aspects surrounding talc pleurodesis. Specializing in cases of mesothelioma and asbestos exposure, we are dedicated to offering comprehensive legal guidance and compassionate care while we fight for your rights. 

Talc Pleurodesis & Asbestos Exposure

Talc pleurodesis, a medical procedure often unfamiliar to many, becomes a topic of interest when linked to asbestos exposure and related lung conditions. 

Exposure to asbestos can cause many painful and debilitating health problems, including issues related to the lining of the lungs and the pleural space. These problems can lead to labored breathing, chest pain, and a persistent cough. There may be additional symptoms that also indicate exposure to asbestos

One treatment that may be recommended to a patient who is experiencing serious or repeated problems with the pleural space is talc pleurodesis.

At The Williams Law Firm, P.C., we are deeply entrenched in providing legal assistance to victims of asbestos-related diseases. We also understand that the intricacies of such medical procedures are crucial. Our firm aims to shed light on what talc pleurodesis entails, its significance in the treatment of conditions caused by asbestos exposure, and how it intersects with legal considerations.

What Is Pleurodesis?

Broken down, pleuro- means the lining of the lung, and -desis means to bind. Pleurodesis is a medical procedure performed to prevent pleural effusion or pneumothorax. Pleural effusion is a gathering of liquid in the space between the lung and the chest cavity, or the pleura.

Do Doctors Recommend Talc Pleurodesis?

If you are at risk of pleural effusion or pneumothorax, your doctor may recommend talc pleurodesis. This procedure removes the pleural space by binding the lung to the chest wall. Eliminating this space can effectively prevent related health issues.

How Is a Talc Pleurodesis Procedure Done?

If you elect to undergo talc pleurodesis, your doctor will first drain any fluid that is currently in your pleural space. You will need a chest X-ray to confirm that your lung has fully re-expanded. On the day of your procedure, expect the following steps:

  • You will be given an oral morphine solution and a local anesthetic inserted into a drain in your chest to help control pain. The anesthetic in the drain will numb the lining of the lung.
  • The doctor will add the talc-and-saline mixture into the drain slowly.
  • The doctor will turn the drain tap off and keep it closed for one hour to allow the talc to do its job. During this time, you can request additional painkillers if necessary.
  • Your doctor will ensure that the drain is working properly and does not leak. During the procedure, you will be monitored by the nursing staff in case of any complications.
  • The doctor will open the drain tap and allow the liquid to drain out.
  • You will be kept overnight in the hospital. The next day, if your drain is showing minimal fluid output, it will be removed. Otherwise, you may have to stay for an additional day.

Unless there is another medical reason for you to remain in the hospital, you will be released once the drain has been removed. Most patients are released within 24 to 48 hours. Then, you will schedule a follow-up appointment with your doctor to see how effective the talc pleurodesis has been.

Why Do They Put Talc in Lungs?

During talc pleurodesis, the goal of administering talc to the lungs is to cause an inflammatory reaction in the pleura (the tissue that envelops the lungs). If the procedure succeeds, the irritation will be enough to close off the pleural space and prevent it from filling up with fluid in the future.

Talc is used because it is the most effective sclerosant (injectable irritant) available for patients with malignant pleural effusion.

Is Talc Safe for Pleurodesis?

The talc used for talc pleurodesis is special, medical-grade talc that has been made sterile.

Talk to your doctor to see if you have any underlying issues in your medical history that could make the use of talc unnecessarily dangerous. These may include allergies, pregnancy or breastfeeding, drug interactions, lung diseases, and breathing problems.

How Effective Is Talc Pleurodesis?

Talc pleurodesis is successful in about 70-80% of cases. When it is successful, this procedure can save the patient from having to undergo further invasive chest and lung surgeries to drain a buildup of fluids.

What Are Alternatives to Talc Pleurodesis?

One possible alternative to talc pleurodesis is an indwelling pleural catheter. A catheter places a small tube (much smaller than a chest tube) in the chest cavity to constantly drain excess fluids from the pleural space. You can also elect to keep your pleural space open and arrange repeat fluid removal procedures as necessary. 

Complications, Side Effects, and Recovery From Talc Pleurodesis

The main risk associated with talc pleurodesis is pain from irritation and inflammation. Since this is a known risk, patients are always given morphine-based painkillers and a local anesthetic before the procedure, as well as prescription painkillers after the procedure. Other side effects can include fever and flu-like symptoms a day or two following the procedure.

Less often, patients may develop low blood pressure or a severe reaction where the lungs become inflamed, making it difficult to breathe. However, this occurs in less than 1 in 1,000 cases. 

During recovery, you will need to keep the incision clean with daily gentle washes and change out your bandages at least once per day. Do not submerge your wound in any water until your incision has fully healed. You should also avoid rubbing the wound or putting any lotion or ointment on the incision.

Some drainage from the wound is normal; however, if you experience a lot of drainage or signs of an infection, contact your doctor. How long it takes you to fully recover from your procedure depends on your specific case. Ask your doctor when you can resume your normal activities.

What Other Damages Can Qualify for Compensation After Asbestos Exposure?

Depending on the circumstances surrounding your asbestos exposure, including whether you suffer lung cancer or another related health issue, you are likely to qualify for compensation for a number of damages. Some of the most common qualifying losses that are eligible for financial recovery include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Pain and suffering
  • Reduced earning capacity
  • Property damage and property loss
  • Past and future medical expenses
  • Lost wages, including future lost income and related benefits
  • Household out-of-pocket expenses
  • Physical therapy
  • Funeral costs
  • In-home rehabilitation
  • Disability
  • Emergency medical treatment
  • Change in lifestyle
  • Loss of consortium and loss of companionship
  • Emotional distress or mental anguish
  • Loss of enjoyment of life and personal enjoyment
  • Punitive damages

You should not be forced to handle medical bills and other losses alone, so do not hesitate to contact us for support. The Williams Law Firm, P.C. has never lost a case, and we are dedicated to treating your claim as our cause.

How Can an Asbestos Exposure Attorney Help You With Your Claim and Medical Bills?

The Williams Law Firm, P.C. can support you in many ways after you suffer from exposure to asbestos, including any medical issues resulting in a need for talc pleurodesis. We would be happy to support you in many ways throughout the legal process, including but not limited to the following:

  • Conducting an independent investigation
  • Working with medical professionals
  • Connecting you with trustworthy and  helpful medical specialists to aid with the healing process
  • Referring you to additional legal specialists
  • Negotiating with every party to recover a satisfactory settlement
  • Preparing your case for court
  • Collecting evidence to prove liability
  • Consulting with experts to determine the full scope of your damages
  • Assuring that all documents are filed correctly and in a timely manner
  • Reviewing your damages to determine the total value of your claim
  • Communicating with the other parties on your behalf
  • Organizing your medical records and bills
  • Working with your healthcare providers to obtain any missing records
  • Organizing and presenting the evidence in order to prove liability and damages
  • Accessing research methods/tools only available to legal professionals
  • Reducing stress related to your claim

A lawyer from The Williams Law Firm, P.C. can assist you in maximizing the potential compensation you can receive and lessening litigation time related to your claim.

Get Invaluable Support and Receive Complete Compensation: Contact The Williams Law Firm, P.C. Today

If you or a loved one is grappling with the challenges of an asbestos-related condition like those requiring talc pleurodesis, know that you’re not alone. The Williams Law Firm, P.C., knowledgeably blends legal prowess with a deep understanding of the intricacies of asbestos-related diseases. Our dedicated team, led by Joseph P. Williams, has a rich history of championing the rights of those affected by asbestos exposure, recovering substantial compensation for our clients. We have never lost a case and would be happy to represent you.

We understand the physical, emotional, and financial toll these conditions can take, and we’re here to guide you through the legal process with compassion and expertise. Contact us today at (855) 575-6376 or by completing our contact form for a free consultation. Your fight is our fight, and we stand ready to support you every step of the way.

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