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Video-Assisted Thoracic Surgery
What is it? Overview Usage Side Effects and Warnings

What is Video-Assisted Thoracic Surgery?

VATS is a type of chest surgery that requires making tiny openings in the chest. During VATS, the doctor makes small, keyhole incisions and uses a tiny camera (called a thoracoscope) and other small tools. Images from the camera are sent to TV monitors. The doctor relies on these images to do the surgery.

VATS is used to diagnose and treat a range of conditions. Common reasons to undergo VATS include:

  • Diagnosing and treating lung cancer
  • Diagnosing lung infections
  • Treating collapsed lungs
  • Draining fluid out of the chest cavity

Lung Cancer
Lung Cancer
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Compared to traditional procedures, VATS may result in:

  • Less pain and faster recovery
  • Shorter hospital stay
  • Fewer complications
  • Less scarring

Possible Complications

Complications are rare, but no procedure is completely free of risk. If you are planning to have VATS, your doctor will review a list of possible complications, which may include:

  • Infection
  • Bleeding
  • Anesthesia-related problems
  • Air leaking from the lungs
  • Chest pain
  • The need to switch to open chest surgery (eg, to remove a larger area of the lung)

Some factors that may increase the risk of complications include:

  • Pre-existing heart or lung condition
  • Obesity
  • Diabetes
  • Previous chest surgery
  • Use of certain medicines

Discuss these risks with your doctor before surgery.

Call Your Doctor

After you leave the hospital, contact your doctor if any of the following occurs:

  • Cough or shortness of breath
  • Coughing...