Pleurodesis prevents fluid build-up in the pleural space. This procedure causes the membranes that surround the lungs to stick to the lungs themselves, eliminating the pleural space and thereby preventing fluid accumulation. Some people who have had pneumothoraces associated with BHD have been treated with chemical or mechanical pleurodesis in association with other treatments such as thoracostomies and thoracotomies.
During chemical pleurodesis, chemicals such as talc (magnesium silicate – perhaps the most common choice), silver nitrate, quinacrine or tetracycline are inserted into the pleural space through a chest tube. After the chemical has caused adherence of the membranes, the tube is removed.
In mechanical pleurodesis, either gauze abrasion (which can be described as a scouring process) or electrocoagulation procedures are used to cause the membrane adhesion. This is less painful and more effective than chemical pleurodesis.