Optimal surgical technique in spontaneous pneumothorax: a systematic review and meta-analysis

Christopher L. Sudduth, Julia K. Shinnick, Zhi Geng, Courtney E. McCracken, Matthew S. Clifton, Mehul V. Raval*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


Background Numerous thoracoscopic techniques have been used in the management of primary spontaneous pneumothorax (PSP), including wedge resection, pleurectomy, pleural abrasion, chemical pleurodesis, and staple line covering. The purpose of this systematic review was to compare outcomes for the most commonly reported techniques. Materials and methods A systematic literature search looking at pneumothorax recurrence rate, length of stay, and chest tube duration after surgery was conducted in accordance with Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses guidelines using the PubMed database. Results Fifty-one unique studies comprised of 6907 patients published between January 1988 and June 2015 were identified. Heterogeneity among effect sizes was significant for all outcomes. The lowest recurrence rates were observed in the wedge resection + chemical pleurodesis (1.7%; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.0%-2.7%) and the wedge resection + pleural abrasion + chemical pleurodesis (2.8%; 95% CI, 1.7%-4.7%) groups. The shortest chest tube duration and length of stay were observed in the wedge resection + staple line covering ± other group (2.1 d; 95% CI, 1.4-2.9 and 3.3 d; 95% CI, 2.6-4.0, respectively). Conclusions The variability in reported outcomes and the lack of published multicenter randomized controlled trials highlights a need for more robust investigations into the optimal surgical technique in the management of PSP. Based on the limited quality studies available, this systematic review favors wedge resection + chemical pleurodesis and wedge resection + pleural abrasion + chemical pleurodesis in terms of recurrence rate after surgery for PSP.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)32-46
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Surgical Research
StatePublished - Apr 1 2017


  • Pleural abrasion
  • Pleurectomy
  • Pleurodesis
  • Pneumothorax
  • Recurrence
  • Thoracoscopic surgery

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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