Primary Spontaneous Pneumothorax: Open Thoracotomy vs. Video-assisted Thoracoscopic Surgery: A Single-center Retrospective Cohort Study

Iran J Med Sci. 2023 Jan;48(1):49-56. doi: 10.30476/ijms.2022.91422.2260.


Background: Primary spontaneous pneumothorax (PSP) is a spontaneous pneumothorax without underlying lung disease. The main goals of this study were to compare the outcomes of video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery (VATS) and open thoracotomy in patients with PSP.

Methods: The current study is a retrospective cohort study of patients who were admitted to the emergency department or general surgery ward at Dr. Masih Daneshvari Hospital (Tehran, Iran) with the diagnosis of PSP and underwent surgery by open or VATS approach from 2006 to 2012. The groups were compared in terms of the length of operation, the length of hospitalization, recurrence, and postoperative complications. Data were analyzed using SPSS version 18.0, and Student's t test, analysis of variance (ANOVA), Chi square, and Fisher's exact test were employed. P values less than 0.05 were considered statistically significant.

Results: PSP was diagnosed in 90 patients who underwent surgery. Open thoracotomy and VATS procedures were performed in 65 (72.2%) and 25 (27.8%) patients, respectively. VATS was converted to open in seven cases (7.7%). Recurrent pneumothorax was the most common surgical indication for PSP. There was no significant difference between the two groups in terms of mean age, sex, smoking, side of the involved lung, previous pneumothorax history, mean length of hospitalization for recurrence, post-operation bleeding, and failure of lung expansion. However, the length of surgery (P=0.011) and air leakage (P=0.048) significantly differed between the two groups.

Conclusion: When compared to open thoracotomy, VATS could be the primary treatment option in the surgical treatment of PSP due to the shorter length of surgery and decreased complications such as air leakage.

Keywords: Pneumothorax; Surgeryl Video-assisted; Thoracotomy.

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Iran / epidemiology
  • Length of Stay
  • Pneumothorax* / diagnosis
  • Pneumothorax* / epidemiology
  • Pneumothorax* / surgery
  • Recurrence
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Thoracic Surgery, Video-Assisted* / adverse effects
  • Thoracic Surgery, Video-Assisted* / methods
  • Thoracotomy / adverse effects
  • Thoracotomy / methods
  • Treatment Outcome