Lung collapse

Other names: Pneumothorax


A pneumothorax, commonly known as a collapsed lung, occurs when air leaks into the space between the lungs and the chest wall, causing the lung to collapse partially. This can be due to chest injuries, medical procedures, or underlying lung diseases.


The main symptoms include sudden chest pain and shortness of breath. If these symptoms are severe, immediate emergency care is necessary.



Recurrence is common, and surgery may be needed to close the air leak if it persists.


Diagnosis is usually made through a chest X-ray or CT scan for more detailed images.



  1. What is a pneumothorax?

A pneumothorax is a collapsed lung caused by air leaking into the space between the lungs and chest wall.

  1. What are the symptoms of a pneumothorax?

The main symptoms include sudden chest pain and shortness of breath.

  1. What causes a pneumothorax?

Causes include chest injuries, underlying lung diseases, ruptured air blisters, and mechanical ventilation.

  1. Who is at risk for a pneumothorax?

Men, smokers, individuals with lung diseases, those on mechanical ventilation, and people with a history of pneumothorax are at higher risk.

  1. How is a pneumothorax diagnosed?

It is usually diagnosed through a chest X-ray or CT scan.

  1. What are the treatments for a pneumothorax?

Treatments include observation, needle or chest tube insertion, and surgery if necessary.

  1. Can a pneumothorax recur?

Yes, many people experience recurrence within one to two years of their first episode.

  1. Is surgery always required for a pneumothorax?

Surgery may be necessary if other treatments fail to resolve the issue.

  1. How long does it take for a collapsed lung to re-expand on its own?

For a small portion of the lung collapse, it typically takes about one to two weeks for re-expansion with supplemental oxygen.

  1. Are there any long-term complications of a pneumothorax?

Persistent air leaks may require surgical intervention to prevent complications.

By providing accurate information in a concise manner, this article aims to educate readers about pneumothorax in an easily understandable format.