Children's Hospital Colorado
Pediatric Surgery

Pneumothorax (Collapsed Lung)

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What is a pneumothorax?

A pneumothorax, also called a collapsed lung, occurs when air enters the chest between the lung and the chest wall cavity instead of entering the lung. This causes the lung to fall or collapse away from the chest wall cavity.

What causes a pneumothorax?

A pneumothorax may occur spontaneously or due to an injury. They may also be caused by blebs, which are small collections of air trapped between the lung and its outer surface. A pneumothorax can also be caused by lung diseases, including:

Who gets a pneumothorax?

Though anyone can get a pneumothorax, it is most common in tall, thin males in their teens or young adulthood. Up to 50% of children who have had a pneumothorax will have another. But after successful treatment, there should be no long-term complications.

Next steps

  • Do you have questions about your child’s condition?

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