Several operations to drain fluid from the lungs exist, and all are generally safe and not serious but can result in minor complications, according to Healthline. The types of operations to drain fluid include thoracentesis and surgery such as a pleurectomy.
Thoracentesis is done with a needle or small tube that is inserted into the chest, according to Healthline. The patient is given a local anesthetic before the procedure, but he may feel pain and discomfort after the procedure is done.
Risks of the procedure are minor and include pneumothorax, bleeding and organ injury, explains National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. Pneumothorax occurs when air collects between the lungs and the chest wall, and the needle can puncture the lung. Usually the hole seals itself, but sometimes the lung can collapse and need treatment. Bleeding is rare with the procedure, but treatment such as surgery is needed if it occurs. The liver or spleen can also be damaged with the procedure, but this occurs very rarely.
A pleurectomy is needed in severe cases, which involves surgically removing the pleural lining, according to Healthline. A pleurectomy includes the risks of bleeding, air leaks, postoperative pain and long-term discomfort, as stated by Thoracic Surgery at Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast. This is a serious surgery, unlike thoracentesis, but it has benefits such as preventing lung collapse and pneumothorax in the future.