Palliative Lung Procedures

Related Conditions
The University of Wisconsin Carbone Cancer Center offers palliative surgical procedures for patients with lung disease.
Palliative Care for Shortness of Breath
The following procedures can be done via bronchoscopy to open blocked airways and relieve shortness of breath: 
  • Photodynamic Therapy (PDT)
  • YAG Laser Therapy heats the surface of the tumor, causing shrinkage of tissue that is blocking the airway.
  • Endobronchial Stent Placement uses a hollow tube that is placed into the airway to maintain the opening, so that breathing is easier.
Palliative Care for Pleural Effusions
A pleural effusion is an abnormal accumulation of fluid between the two layers surrounding the lungs which can lead to shortness of breath.
Symptoms can be relieved when this fluid is drained during a procedure called a thoracentesis, but often the fluid returns rapidly and repeating this procedure frequently increases the likelihood of complications.
The following procedures can be done in an effort to gain long-term control of a pleural effusion:  
  • Thoracoscopic talc pleurodesis is a procedure that places talc into the space between the lung and the chest cavity, which causes the linings (pleura) to adhere to one another and thereby removes any space in which the fluid can build up.
  • Chronic indwelling pleural catheter can be placed into the area between the lung and the chest cavity for intermittent (home) pleural fluid drainage.