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Dr. Chip
Dr. Chip, Doctor (MD)
Category: Health
Satisfied Customers: 26383
Experience:  Over 20 yrs of Family Practice
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I am a normally healthy 24 year old male that has had a recent

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I am a normally healthy 24 year old male that has had a recent episode of a small pneumothorax in my left lung. The last xray was taken on Sunday and showed that most of the escaped air had been reabsorbed and that the small collapse was reattached. I am scheduled to take a transatlantic flight from Minneapolis to London tomorrow evening. It is possible that I could delay departure until Friday. What would be your recommendations? and what is the probability that I could have another problem?
Hi--was the cause of the pneumothorax determined as perhaps a bleb (blister) on the lung? Have you discussed the flight with your doctor?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Yes it was a bleb. I have discussed the flight. The ER doctor said she thought it would be okay. The pulmonologist who hasn't actually seen me said wait four weeks. But I can't because I am performing at one of the largest electronic music festivals in the world in Pula, Croatia.

OK--I can only tell you what I would say if you were my patient. Just so you'll know, I've done trauma surgery and critical care medicine and have put a lot of chest tubes into patients with much larger pneumothoraces. I see no reason why you can't make the trip since we're not talking about a major pressure differential while in the plane (if you were going to hike a very tall mountain, I'd say wait). The tear in the pleural lining of your lung has obviously sealed so there should be no problem.
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Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Hi. I forgot to say that the problem occurred Friday morning. I have the digital images of the original xray taken on Saturday and the follow-up on Sunday here for you. Thanks.

Very small pneumo and since it completely resolved in just a day then there's no continuing air leak. Again, I'm not your doctor so I can only say it this way--if you were my patient I'd say bon voyage and have a good flight

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Hi Dr. Chip.


What do you think the probability of a problem in flight would be? I looked on line and there have been lots of stories about flying without a problem after resolution of a pneumothorax...but very few horror stories. Is that because its not as much of a problem as everyone thinks it is?

Sorry for the delay. For you I don't think there's any chance of a problem in flight. Remember when you read about horror stories most often you don't know the whole story with a given individual such as how large their pneumo was and other factors.