In the U.S., trauma is responsible for 140,000 annual deaths, making it the main cause of death in people under the age of 40 [1]. In 60% of trauma cases, patients suffer chest injuries, which account for about 25% of trauma-related deaths [2]. Patients with traumatic chest injuries require immediate medical intervention to minimize risk of morbidity and mortality. Most patients have chest tubes placed in the thoracic cavity via tube thoracostomy (TT) to drain accumulated fluid from pneumothorax, hemothorax, or hemopneumothorax. Because TT has no definite contraindications for a patient in respiratory distress [3], it is used to treat up to 85% of chest injuries [4].

Though properly placed chest tubes carry little risk to the patient, the standard of care for TT, blunt dissection (BD), is an imprecise and highly skilled procedure. Because the physician is blindly dissecting tissue with...

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