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PURPOSE OF REVIEW - Medical thoracoscopy, also known as pleuroscopy, has been utilized by chest physicians for more than a century. Despite this, it has only recently re-emerged as an important tool for interventional pulmonologists to diagnose and treat pleural diseases. The purpose of this review is to critically assess the recent literature related to medical thoracoscopy, specifically as it pertains to its safety and feasibility as an outpatient procedure.
RECENT FINDINGS - Recent data have reaffirmed the clinical utility of medical thoracoscopy and suggest that it can be safely performed in an outpatient setting. A single-center study of 51 patients published in the past year described both the feasibility and safety of outpatient medical thoracoscopy. This study highlights the notion that the majority of patients do not require hospital admission after a routine diagnostic thoracoscopy in the absence of talc poudrage. Another study this year described the successful use of chest physician-directed ultrasound-guided cutting needle biopsy when medical thoracoscopy was not technically possible.
SUMMARY - The contribution of medical thoracoscopy in the diagnosis and management of pleural diseases is increasingly recognized. Evidence supports the routine practice of medical thoracoscopy on an outpatient basis in experienced centers.