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Medical Thoracoscopy

Medical Thoracoscopy/Pleural Biopsy and Pleurodesis


Thoracoscopy is a minimal invasive procedure traditionally performed to diagnose and/or treat pleural lung disease. Your pleura is a large, thin sheet of tissue that wraps around the outside of your lungs and lines the inside of your chest cavity. Patients with pleural thickening or pleural effusions (pleural fluid) and who are determined to have lung cancer, chylothorax, lymphoma, mesothelioma, metastatic cancers, or benign conditions, such as congestive heart failure, may be eligible for this procedure. Most patients have reoccurring accumulation of pleural fluid resulting in breathing issues, chest pain, cough, and the inability to lie flat.

Thoracoscopy allows the physician visualization of the lung pleura to diagnose the cause of the pleural fluid and the ability to apply medication to prevent further fluid from returning. UC San Diego Medical Center is proud to offer our patients this minimally invasive procedure.

Why is it used?

Lung Inspection Biospy
  • Can be used for the diagnosis of pleural effusion that is not able to be diagnosed by thoracentesis (fluid sampling) alone
  • A thorough inspection of the lung and pleura can be done and biopsies of the pleura performed
  • In specific instances, pleurodesis medications, such as talc, can be sprayed onto the pleura preventing pleural fluid from returning

What Makes Medical Thoracoscopy Different?

  • Can be performed using general anesthesia with a breathing tube or with moderate sedation that does not require a breathing tube
  • Allows approaches based on the patients history, current medical conditions, or preference

Benefits of Medical Thoracoscopy

  • Thoracoscopy increases the ability to diagnose pleural disease and the cause of pleural fluid accumulation

Learn More About Medical Thoracoscopy

At UC San Diego Medical Center’s Interventional Pulmonology Unit, the following interventional pulmonologists specialize in performing medical thoracoscopy:

All referrals will still have the option of continuing their treatment with their primary care physicians after the medical thoracoscopy.

For an appointment, for more information, or to find out how to refer a patient, please contact the Interventional Pulmonology Unit, 619-543-5840.

Interventional Pulmonology
UC San Diego Medical Center, 3rd Floor, South Wing
200 West Arbor Drive
San Diego, CA 619-543-5840