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World J Surg. 1998 Aug;22(8):803-6.

Surgical treatment of spontaneous pneumothorax: ten-year experience.

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Department of Thoracic and Vascular Surgery, Evangelismos General Hospital, Athens, Greece.


Spontaneous pneumothorax (SP) is commonly observed in young, tall, thin subjects without apparent underlying lung disease and in the elderly with chronic emphysematous lung disease. We present our experience in treating SP during the last decade. From December 1986 to November 1996 a total of 417 consecutive patients with SP were admitted to our department. There were 349 males (83.7%) and 68 females, ranging in age from 14 to 93 years. A right-side SP was detected in 234 cases (56.1%), a left-side SP in 175 (42.0%), and a bilateral SP IN 8 (1.9%). Treatment included observation/aspiration (n = 16, 3.8%), tube thoracostomy (n = 372, 89.2%), multiple tubes (n = 29, 7.0%) blood pleurodesis (n = 13, 3.1%), midsternotomy (n = 3, 0.7%), and minithoracotomy (n = 92, 22.1%). Primary indications for operation were recurrent SP (n = 49) and persistent air leak (n = 46). Blebs or bullae were found in all patients and were ablated by stapling. Pleural abrasion was also performed. All showed good lung expansion postoperatively. Perioperative mortality was zero. The mean hospital stay was 6.5 days. Follow-up of 89 patients who had undergone surgical treatment (93.75) at 1 to 100 months revealed only one recurrence. Tube thoracostomy is still in cases of recurrent SP or persistent air leak. Minithoracotomy is a safe surgical approach with satisfactory cosmetic results.

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