Talc pleurodesis. Experience with 360 patients

J Thorac Cardiovasc Surg. 1993 Oct;106(4):689-95.


Talc was used intrapleurally for the creation of pleural adhesions in 360 patients. The indications for use were malignant pleural effusion in 169 patients, benign effusions in 41, recurrent pneumothorax in 122, empyema in 19, and chylothorax in 9. Of 336 patients available for follow-up, excellent results (complete pleurodesis) were achieved in 284 patients (84.5%), fair results in 28 (8.3%), and poor results (no adhesions) in 24 (7.2%). The results were best in empyema (100%) and better in pneumothorax than in pleural effusions. With repeat talc insufflation, the results were improved to excellent in more than 90% of the patients. Talc is the most effective and least expensive agent for creation of pleural adhesions. Its use is simple and easily tolerated by the patients. Because of the carcinogenic effect of asbestos, purified talc that is free of asbestos fibers must be used.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Chylothorax / therapy
  • Empyema, Pleural / therapy
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pleural Diseases / therapy*
  • Pleural Effusion / therapy
  • Pleural Effusion, Malignant / therapy
  • Pneumothorax / therapy
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Talc / therapeutic use*
  • Tissue Adhesions / chemically induced


  • Talc