A chest tube is a non-invasive method to reach the pleural space to drain fluid and administer medication. For a chest tube insertion, a doctor might put the patient under general anesthesia.
Technological advances in medicine have enabled doctors to get objective and precise digital data to make better clinical decisions during this complicated thoracic duct surgery procedure.
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Although there are many options for incisions to insert the chest tube, the process will be the same.
- Lifting the head of someone's bed by between 30-60 degrees. Usually, an individual will raise the arm on their affected side higher than the head.
- Identifying where the tube is inserted.
- Cleanse the skin using a solution such as chlorhexidine or povidone-iodine. The doctor will let the skin dry completely before placing a sterile wrap over the patient.
- A local anesthetic is used to numb the site. The doctor may then insert a deeper needle to check if fluid or air can be pulled back. This will confirm they are in the correct area.
Incisions should be made approximately 2 to 3 centimeters (cm), through the skin. The doctor will then use a Kelly clamp to widen the incision, allowing access into the pleural space. To avoid puncturing the lungs, slow clamp insertion is recommended.