There are only sparse data concerning postoperative chest X-rays in thoracic surgery patients. In a study on children and young adults undergoing a Nuss procedure routine radiological examination was substituted by clinical indication resulting in a lower rate of thoracic drain placement. A chest X-ray to document the location of the metal bar prior to discharge was felt to be sufficient. In patients undergoing cardiac procedures daily routine chest X-rays on the intensive care ward were replaced by on-demand X-ray in a study without any change in length of stay, readmission or mortality. The same was found for chest X-rays following drain removal in cardiac patients: routine radiological examination seems not to be indicated. As a consequence of our own observational study on mediastinoscopy we have discontinued postoperative X-ray as the patients are examined clinically. All other patients undergoing thoracic surgery procedures who are observed in the intensive care unit receive the first chest X-ray in the morning following surgery. Only if complete expansion of the lung is warranted (pleurodesis, pneumothorax) an X-ray is performed on the day of surgery.