Background: Thoracoscopic simple bullectomy for primary spontaneous pneumothorax (PSP) has a relatively high postoperative recurrence rate and sometimes results in postoperative air leakage. One of the reasons for postoperative recurrence is the regrowth of bullae around the staple line. Therefore, reinforcement of the visceral pleura around the staple line is a reasonable way to prevent postoperative air leaks and recurrence. This study was done to determine the efficacy in preventing postoperative air leak and recurrent pneumothorax of widely covering the staple line with absorbable mesh after thoracoscopic bullectomy.
Methods: Wide coverage of the staple line with absorbable mesh was performed on 114 patients with PSP. These patients were retrospectively compared with 126 patients who underwent thoracoscopic simple bullectomy alone.
Results: The postoperative duration of chest drainage in the coverage group (mean, 1 day; range, 0-5) was significantly shorter than that in the simple bullectomy group (mean, 3 days; range 0-20). A prolonged air leak (>7 days) occurred in six patients in the simple bullectomy group, but there were no such leaks in the coverage group. Recurrent pneumothorax occurred in three patients (2.6%) in the coverage group and 12 patients (9.5%) in the simple bullectomy group.
Conclusion: Wide coverage of the staple line with absorbable mesh is effective in preventing postoperative air leak and in decreasing the recurrence rates of PSP.