Postoperative chest tube placement after thoracoscopic wedge resection of lung for primary spontaneous pneumothorax: is it mandatory?

Jae Bum Park, Jae Joon Hwang, Woo Surng Lee, Yo Han Kim, Song Am Lee


Background: The goal of present study is to assess the efficiency and feasibility of postoperative care without positioning of chest tube after video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery (VATS) in patients with primary spontaneous pneumothorax (PSP).
Methods: We conducted a prospective randomized trial of patients who have undergone video-assisted thoracoscopic wedge resection surgery for PSP. During the period of April 2015 until December 2016, 119 eligible patients undergoing VATS for PSP were consecutively included. We divided the patients into two groups at random: (I) avoiding chest tube (ACT) group, comprising 58 patients in whom chest tube was not placed intra or postoperatively, and (II) indwelling chest tube (ICT) group, comprising 61 patients in whom chest tube was placed conventionally. Primary end point was to evaluate and analyze the postoperative clinical data and relevant morbidities between two groups.
Results: The mean postoperative length of hospital stay (3.57±0.79 vs. 5.39±0.97 days) and postoperative pain (1.37±0.78 vs. 2.53±0.63) in ACT group were significantly lower than in the ICT group (P<0.05). However, there were no statistical differences between two groups regarding other clinical data and postoperative morbidities. There were no patients who experienced significant adverse events postoperatively.
Conclusions: Postoperative management without chest tube placement is safe and feasible approach for patients undergoing thoracoscopic wedge resection for PSP.