• Twenty-three patients who sustained either blunt or penetrating thoracic trauma underwent early decortication after failure of chest tube drainage. Patients were divided into two groups: (1) ten with isolated chest injuries were compared with (2) 13 with chest trauma and other associated major injuries. Group 1 patients had earlier decortication (10.3 days), rapid recovery (home in 6.1 days), and little morbidity. Group 2 patients had later decortications (19.3 days), higher incidence of infected clot, yet were home in 9.8 days after thoracotomy. Early decortication is advocated as a safe and expedient means of dealing with the complications of traumatic pneumothorax and hemothorax.
(Arch Surg 113:440-445, 1978)