Pneumothorax can be life-threatening. The immediate treatment for pneumothorax is tube thoracostomy, or the insertion of a chest tube. A long, flexible, hollow, narrow tube is inserted through the ribs into the pleural splace, and the tube is attached to a suction device. This allows the air to be evacuated from the pleural space, and allows the lung to re-expand. Chest tubes are generally inserted using local anesthesia. The chest tube is left in place until the lung leak seals on its own; this usually occurs within two to five days.