Trapping of air between the lung and the chest wall. This space, the pleural cavity, normally contains no air at all, so that the lung is held firmly against the thoracic wall. If air gets in, the negative pressure responsible for holding the lung against the thorax is removed, and the lung collapses partly or wholly. Air can penetrate from the inside (through a hole in the lung) or from outside (through a wound in the chest wall). If air leaks from the lung the condition is known as ‘spontaneous pneumothorax’, neous pneumothorax on a number of occasions, treatment is possible by blowing talcum powder through a tube into the pleural cavity. Connective tissue forms between the outside of the lung and the inside of the thorax as a reaction to the powder, and they knit together, preventing further collapse of the lung and thus future pneumothorax.

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