Thorac cardiovasc Surg 1984; 32(3): 165-169
DOI: 10.1055/s-2007-1023375
© Georg Thieme Verlag Stuttgart · New York

Surgical Management of Spontaneous Pneumothorax

P. van den Brande, I. Staelens, B. Cham, E. Welch
  • Division of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery, Department of Surgery, Akademisch Ziekenhuis, Vrije Universiteit Brussels, Belgium
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Publication History


Publication Date:
19 March 2008 (online)


Spontaneous pneumothorax is a common surgical problem. Although the general principles of drainage of the pleural space and of prevention of recurrence seem well known, the literature shows differences in success rates concerning the treatment of a first pneumothorax and of the eventual recurrences. This is probably due to some technical factors and different views on the therapeutical strategy.

In this retrospective review of 62 patients with spontaneous pneumothorax, 8 were treated by bed rest for their not enlarging and less than 20% pneumothorax, and 54 were treated by closed chest tube thoracostomy with an early success rate of 93.5% at the first admission.

The simultaneous use of scarifying agents and closed chest drainage appears useful for the treatment of immediate or first recurrence.

Sixteen patients were readmitted later for ipsilateral recurrence. According to the magnitude of their pneumothorax, they were treated by bed rest or tube thoracostomy with scarifying agents. Four of these patients needed thoracotomy with oversuturing of subpleural blebs and pleurodesis. The total thoracotomy rate of the initial patient population was 12.9% after an average follow up period of 24.8 months.