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Lung diseases

52 year old non-smoker with fist sized bleb

06/16/2009

Question:

I was diagnosed with mulitple blebs with one the size of my fist. I had a pleradesis (sic) about two years ago. the big one was not there at that time. What could have caused it. I`ve been to two surgeons and they haven`t given me very good surgical advice. A resection clinic in Dallas said I wasn`t a candidate.

Answer:

In general, it is not recommended that blebs be resected unless they are causing some sort of problem. I assume that you had pleurodesis because of a pneumothorax (rupture of the lining around the lung leading to air collection around the lung and partial collapse of the lung). In most instances, it is thought that blebs result from chronic inflammation from cigarette smoking. In patients who undergo pleurodesis with bleb resection, fewer than 5% have a second pneumothorax. I am not surprised that surgeons think surgery will not help you. Once you have had pleurodesis, surgery on that side becomes more difficult. If you are a smoker, I would recommend you prioritize stopping. If you are not a smoker (or are a former smoker) and are without symptoms, I would not worry about the blebs. They probably will not cause problems. If you are having symptoms, I would discuss with a lung doctor and make sure she thinks the symptoms are due to the blebs and have her make sure there is not another reason for the blebs.

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Response by:

James M O'Brien, Jr, MD James M O'Brien, Jr, MD
Former Associate Professor
Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine
College of Medicine
The Ohio State University