Most patients who undergo pulmonary resection can have one chest tube and have it removed by postoperative day 3. Air leaks are probably best treated with water seal (passive suction) for most patients with small leaks. If they develop a new or enlarging pneumothorax or subcutaneous emphysema, some suction (active suction) is needed and alternating suction at night with waters seal during the day may be best. Most patients with persistent air leaks can be discharged home safely on an outpatient device and have their tubes removed in 2 to 3 weeks even if they still have an air leak. © 2010 Elsevier Inc.