A collapsed lung is often repaired using keyhole surgery (thoracoscopy), where small incisions are made to insert a tiny camera (endoscope) and surgical instruments. Hospital stay after a thoracoscopy is generally 1–4 days, or until any chest drain tubes have been removed.
Pneumothorax is commonly caused by a puncture or tear in the lung tissue, usually due to chest trauma. Other causes might include medical procedures, such as thoracentesis (removal of excess fluid from the pleural cavity) or mechanical ventilation. Some underlying medical conditions, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), cystic fibrosis, or lung cancer, may also increase the risk of developing pneumothorax.
Sometimes finding a reason for a pneumothorax is impossible, especially in young, tall and thin patients. In those cases, we call it idiopathic pneumothorax.
A pneumothorax, also known as a collapsed lung, can be a serious condition depending on the severity and underlying cause. It occurs when air leaks into the space between the lung and the chest wall, causing the lung to collapse.
If left untreated or if there is a large pneumothorax, it can lead to significant breathing problems, chest pain, and even death. However, a small pneumothorax may not cause any symptoms and may even resolve on its own.
Treatment options vary depending on the size of the pneumothorax and the underlying cause but can include observation, oxygen therapy, needle aspiration, or chest tube insertion. It’s important to seek medical attention if you suspect a pneumothorax or are experiencing any troubling symptoms.
Treatment for a pneumothorax depends on its severity and whether it is a primary or secondary pneumothorax.
In a primary pneumothorax (occurring without an underlying lung disease), treatment may include:
– Observation: If the pneumothorax is small and causing no symptoms, the patient may only need to be closely monitored to ensure it does not worsen.
– Oxygen therapy: Giving the patient oxygen can help the lung tissue to reabsorb the trapped air.
– Aspiration: A needle will be inserted through the chest wall to remove the air.
– Chest tube insertion: A flexible tube will be inserted through the chest wall into the pleural space to remove the air and allow the lung to re-expand.
In a secondary pneumothorax (occurring as a result of lung disease), treatment may include:
– Diagnosis and treatment of the underlying condition (e.g. pneumonia, COPD, lung cancer, etc.)
– Oxygen therapy
– Chest tube insertion
– Surgery: A procedure may be necessary to prevent further episodes of pneumothorax.
It’s important to seek medical attention immediately if you suspect you have a pneumothorax, as this condition can be life-threatening if left untreated.
In many cases, pneumothorax can occur suddenly without any warning signs or symptoms.
Some common symptoms of pneumothorax include sudden chest pain that worsens with breathing or coughing, shortness of breath, rapid heart rate, or a feeling of tightness in the chest. If you suspect you may be experiencing pneumothorax or any other medical emergency, it’s important to seek immediate medical attention.