In a prospective study (June 1990 to June 1993), 79 patients were treated for spontaneous pneumothorax by video-assisted thoracoscopic methods with regular follow-up. The observation time was from 3 to 36 months (mean 19.6 months) and was more than 24 months in 27 patients. In 57 patients spontaneous pneumothorax was primary and in 22 secondary. The 53 male and 26 female patients were aged between 17 and 87 years (mean 37 years). Twenty-one patients were treated thoracoscopically for first episode, 22 for persistent pneumothorax (> 7 days), and 36 for a recurrence. Endoscopic examination failed to reveal any lung alteration in four patients (5.1%), and treatment then consisted of simple drainage. Leaks were sealed 26 times by means of a Roeder loop with local anesthesia and 14 times by wedge resection with endotracheal anesthesia and one-lung ventilation; 34 patients were treated by pleurectomy. No deaths occurred. Surgical morbidity was 3.8%, and the postoperative complication rate was 5.1%. One patient was excluded from the follow-up study after conversion to a thoracotomy for control of arterial bleeding. We noted six recurrences; four occurred in the first 21 days and three after ligation of the leak with a Roeder loop. We conclude that video-assisted thoracoscopic treatment of spontaneous pneumothorax by wedge resection and pleurectomy has a recurrence-free rate of 93.8% (45/48) and is therefore an effective treatment for all forms of spontaneous pneumothorax.