BACKGROUND--Recurrent episodes of spontaneous pneumothorax can be managed medically or surgically by various methods, video assisted thoracoscopy being the latest and most attractive. METHODS--A retrospective analysis was made of 43 pleural abrasions performed in 39 patients through a 4-6 cm axillary thoracotomy incision. RESULTS--There were no deaths and complications were few. At a mean follow up of 33 months there were two recurrences, neither of which required drainage. CONCLUSIONS--Compared with results achieved with video assisted thoracoscopic surgery, open pleural abrasion via a small thoracotomy may be the treatment of choice in most hospitals.
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