Close

We use cookies to give you the best possible online experience. If you continue, we'll assume you are happy for your web browser to receive all cookies from our website. See our cookie policy for more information on cookies and how to manage them.

Treatment: Chest Drain

A chest drain is used to treat a pneumothorax, in which air enters between the layers of the pleura (the membrane that separates the lungs from the chest wall). It may also be needed following chest surgery. A tube is inserted between the layers of the pleura, allowing air to escape. The tube may be connected to a pump that extracts the air. A chest drain must remain in place until the lung heals, which often takes several days.

Insertion of a chest drain

A local anaesthetic is applied to the skin and an incision made in the chest wall. A drainage tube, often with a one-way valve to control airflow, is then inserted.

From the 2010 revision of the Complete Home Medical Guide © Dorling Kindersley Limited.

Back to top

Search the
Medical Encyclopedia

Related Topics

The subjects, conditions and treatments covered in this encyclopaedia are for information only and may not be covered by your insurance product should you make a claim.