Lavage is a medical procedure commonly used to clean out or wash a specific organ or cavity within the body. It involves flushing the area with a solution, typically saline or water, to remove debris, toxins, or excess fluid that may be present. The word “lavage” originates from the French word for washing, and it is an important technique used in various medical disciplines.
One of the most common applications of lavage is in gastrointestinal (GI) procedures, where it is called gastric lavage. Gastric lavage is often performed in cases of drug overdose or poisoning, as it can help remove toxins from the stomach before they are absorbed into the bloodstream. By introducing a large volume of fluid into the stomach and then suctioning it out, medical professionals can effectively wash away harmful substances and reduce their impact on the patient’s health.
Lavage is also employed in other areas of medicine, such as pulmonary lavage. Pulmonary lavage is used to clean out the lungs in conditions like pulmonary alveolar proteinosis, where excessive accumulation of surfactant leads to impaired lung function. During this procedure, saline or another isotonic solution is introduced into the lungs through a tube, and then suctioned out to remove any debris or accumulated material, allowing for better lung function and improved respiratory outcomes.
Overall, lavage is a versatile medical technique that plays a crucial role in cleansing and maintaining the health of various organs and body cavities. It helps remove substances that can be harmful to the body, promotes healing, and enables better functioning of the affected areas. With advancements in medical technology, lavage procedures continue to evolve, offering safer and more effective treatment options for patients in need.