A pneumothorax, or collapsed lung, occurs when air enters and becomes trapped in the pleural space. This can occur spontaneously (without a precipitating event), secondary to a trauma, or secondary to an underlying disease process.
Risk factors include previous spontaneous pneumothorax, underlying bullous disease related to COPD, cancer, or lung infection.
Signs and Symptoms:
- Shortness of breath
- Chest pain
- Or a patient may be asymptomatic
Interventions for treating a pneumothorax include:
Chest tube placement
Initially, most patients will have a chest tube placed in the Emergency Department or Interventional Radiology on presentation with a pneumothorax. Once the lung has re-expanded, we will either remove the chest tube or, if indicated, we may offer another intervention to prevent recurrence.
A pleurodesis is a procedure performed as an inpatient where we instill an agent (medication or talc) into the pleural space that causes inflammation and fibrosis. This is sometimes performed during a VATS wedge resection or we can instill the medication at the patient’s bedside via an existing chest tube.A video assisted surgery is a minimally invasive lung surgery where the surgeon creates multiple small incisions in the chest and uses a video camera that sees into the chest in order to perform the procedure. Performing a VATS procedure will accomplish the same anatomic dissection as an open thoracotomy approach.
This is a limited resection of the lung to remove lung blebs or bullae that have burst and caused a pneumothorax.