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Case Reports in Surgery
Volume 2014, Article ID 308485, 3 pages
Case Report

Diagnosing Intraoperative Pneumothorax in Patients Undergoing Autologous Breast Reconstruction: A Useful Clinical Sign

1Canniesburn Plastic Surgery Unit, Glasgow Royal Infirmary, Glasgow, UK
2Glasgow Royal Infirmary, Glasgow, UK

Received 11 May 2014; Accepted 22 July 2014; Published 12 August 2014

Academic Editor: Gabriel Sandblom

Copyright © 2014 Thomas Reekie et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Intraoperative pneumothorax during breast reconstruction can be difficult to diagnose. Even a small pneumothorax can become a tension pneumothorax under positive pressure ventilation. The clinical finding of venous congestion in a pedicled latissimus dorsi flap, which could not be explained by problems with the vessels, preceded other signs of a tension pneumothorax in the case presented here. Given the difficulties of access to the chest by the anaesthetic team during breast procedures, this has the potential to be a useful adjunct in the diagnosis of this potentially serious intraoperative complication.