Benign and Malignant Pleural Effusions
A wide range of diseases may involve the pleura and pleural space; therefore, pleural effusions are common in the practice of thoracic surgery. Although the management of pleural effusions seems simple, their diagnosis often presents a challenge. Historically, thoracoscopy was the customary approach; today, video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery (VATS) procedures are widely practiced to diagnose and treat pleural diseases. Patients who may have undergone nondiagnostic, noninvasive evaluation in the past should now be offered a VATS procedure to avoid repeated thoracenteses or pleural biopsies.