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Pneumothorax - series

Incision

Incision

Pneumothorax can be life-threatening. The immediate treatment for pneumothorax is tube thoracostomy, or the insertion of a chest tube. A long, flexible, hollow, narrow tube is inserted through the ribs into the pleural splace, and the tube is attached to a suction device. This allows the air to be evacuated from the pleural space, and allows the lung to re-expand. Chest tubes are generally inserted using local anesthesia. The chest tube is left in place until the lung leak seals on its own; this usually occurs within two to five days.

Update Date: 7/9/2012

Updated by: Allen J. Blaivas, DO, Clinical Assistant Professor of Medicine UMDNJ-NJMS, Attending Physician in the Division of Pulmonary, Critical Care, and Sleep Medicine, Department of Veteran Affairs, VA New Jersey Health Care System, East Orange, NJ. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc.

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