The goal of treating pneumothorax (collapsed lung) is to alleviate pressure on the lung and allow it to expand again. A secondary goal may be to avoid recurrences, depending on the origin of the pneumothorax.
Observation, chest tube insertion, needle aspiration, non-surgical repair, and surgery are all possible treatments. Supplemental oxygen treatment may be used to help with air reabsorption and lung expansion.
- A needle attached to a syringe is placed between the ribs into the air-filled space pressing on the collapsed lung and used to suction out the excess air during a needle aspiration. This is known as fine needle aspiration surgery.
- A chest tube is inserted similarly, with a one-way valve mechanism that drains air constantly until the lung reinflates.
- To prevent the lung from collapsing again, the tube may need to be left in for a few hours or even days.
- The next stage in cases involving an accident or repeated collapsed lungs is a non-surgical leak repair. This is known as pleurodesis and can be done in a variety of methods.
- In the most severe situations, surgery to plug the leak or remove the collapsed section of the lung may be required.
- In advanced cases, intubation can be indicated to help the patient breathe.