The British Thoracic Society recommends the tube is inserted in an area described as the "safe zone", a region bordered by: the lateral border of pectoralis major, a horizontal line inferior to the axilla, the anterior border of latissimus dorsi and a horizontal line superior to the nipple .
Chest tubes are usually inserted under local anesthesia. The skin over the area of insertion is first cleansed with antiseptic solution, such as iodine, before sterile drapes are placed around the area. The local anesthetic is injected into the skin and down to the muscle, and after the area is numb a small incision is made in the skin and a passage made through the skin and muscle into the chest. The tube is placed through this passage. If necessary, patients may be given additional analgesics for the procedure. Once the tube is in place it is sutured to the skin to prevent it falling out and a dressing applied to the area. The tube stays in for as long as there is air or fluid to be removed, or risk of air gathering.
Once the drain is in place, a chest radiograph will be taken to check the location of the drain.
Chest tubes can also be placed using a trocar, which is a pointed metallic bar used to guide the tube through the chest wall. This method is less popular due to an increased risk of iatrogenic lung injury. Placement using the Seldinger technique, in which a blunt guidewire is passed through a needle (over which the chest tube is then inserted) has been described.
Initial Suction Evacuation of Traumatic Hemothoraces: A Novel Approach to Decreasing Chest Tube Duration and Complications
Aug 01, 2012; Between 2 and 4.4 per cent of all patients with trauma chest tubes develop retained hemothoraces. Retained hemothoraces prolong...