Video-assisted thoracic surgery (VATS)

Video-assisted thoracic surgery (VATS) is a technique in which the surgeon inserts a long, thin tube with a camera attached to it through a small incision. This allows the surgeon to see inside the chest cavity and to remove tissue using thin instruments inserted through one or two additional small incisions.

This minimally invasive surgery offers patients the following advantages:

  • Less pain
  • Faster recovery
  • Quicker return to work and normal activities
  • Shorter hospital stay
  • Minimal blood loss
  • Less scarring
  • Lower risk of complications during surgery

Thoracic Surgical Specialists may use VATS surgery to:

  • Biopsy an unknown growth
  • Remove a mass or tumor (cancer)
  • Remove damaged or diseased lung tissue, or the small lobe of the lung (wedge resection)
  • Treat collapsed lung conditions (pneumothorax or pleural effusions)
  • Stop fluid buildup in the chest cavity (pleurodesis)
  • Remove part of or all of the sac around the heart to drain fluid (pericardiectomy)
  • Treat absesses or infections in the area between the lungs and the chest wall (empyema)
  • Dilate the esophagus in patients with achalasia
  • Remove the first rib in patients with thoracic outlet syndrome
  • Treat poorly responding pneumonia

Visit Baptist Hospital East’s Web site to learn more about video-assisted thoracic surgery (VATS).