Late complications of thoracoplasty and plombage for tuberculosis

Glenn A T Beard, Cathy M. Chapman, J. Iasha Sznajder

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Before the late 1940s, there was no effective chemotherapy for tuberculosis. Cavitary lesions were a sign of serious infection and signaled the failure of host defenses to contain the organisms. Efforts were made to mechanically close cavitary lesions with the hope that their closure might reestablish host containment of the organism. 'Collapse therapy' was practiced in several forms: pneumothorax therapy, pneumoperitoneum, plombage, and thoracoplasty. This article focuses on the latter two modes of therapy, plombage and thoracoplasty, and their late complications. Thoracoplasty is deforming and often leads to kyphoscoliosis and restrictive pulmonary impairment. Patients may also occasionally manifest concomitant obstructive airways disease. These defects may be severe enough to contribute to cot pulmonale and respiratory failure. Plombage complications are caused by migration of the plomb and local compressive effect of the plomb. Plombs may erode through neighboring structures, become infected, compress the mediastinum or superior vena cava, or cause bronchopleural fistulas or paraffinoma.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)9-14
Number of pages6
JournalClinical Pulmonary Medicine
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 1996


  • Bronchopleural fistula
  • Collapse therapy
  • Complications
  • Hemorrhage
  • Infection
  • Plombage surgery
  • Thoracic reduction surgery
  • Thoracoplasty
  • Tuberculosis
  • Tuberculosis treatment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine


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