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What is pneumothorax?

A pneumothorax is a total collapse of the lung caused by air entering the pleural space between the lung and chest wall. A partial collapse of the lung is called atelectasis.

This condition can be caused by a rupture of blebs, which are small air blisters on the surface of the lung. This may occur in young patients, especially tall, thin males. Other reasons for pneumothorax include rupture of a bleb in underlying emphysema or the result of a chest injury.