Pleural thickening is a thickening of the pleural layers around the lung. There are two layers around the lung and pleural thickening can affect both the inner and outer layer. Pleural thickening usually takes 20 years or more to develop after exposure to asbestos.
Pleural thickening does not usually cause breathlessness or chest pain until it is diffuse and bilateral, which is once it affects both layers on both lungs. Diffuse pleural thickening usually develops following a pleural effusion.
Pleural thickening alone does not develop into a more serious asbestos condition however if it becomes bilateral and diffuse it can cause increasing breathlessness. Typically the thickening is more extensive the more asbestos someone has been exposed to. The risk of developing other asbestos conditions arises out of the exposure to asbestos and not the presence of pleural thickening.
Compensation for pleural thickening depends on the extent of the symptoms it is causing. If it is diffuse and bilateral benefits are also available.