Video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery (VATS) is a minimally invasive surgical technique used to diagnose and treat problems in your chest. During a video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery procedure, a tiny camera (thoracoscope) and surgical instruments are inserted into your chest through several small incisions. The thoracoscope transmits images of the inside of your chest onto a video monitor, guiding the surgeon in performing the procedure.
Surgeons use the video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery technique to perform a variety of operations, such as:
- Biopsy to diagnose lung cancer, mesothelioma and other chest cancers
- Esophagus surgery (esophagectomy)
- Hiatal hernia repair
- Lung surgery, such as surgery to treat lung cancer and lung volume reduction surgery
- Procedures to remove excess fluid or air from the area around the lungs
- Surgery to relieve excessive sweating (hyperhidrosis)
- Surgery to relieve gastroesophageal reflux disease
- Thymus gland removal surgery (thymectomy)
When compared with a traditional open operation (thoracotomy), video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery may result in less pain and shorten recovery time and helps patients recover faster.
Robotic surgery or robot-assisted surgery, allows doctors to perform many types of complex procedures with more precision, flexibility and control than is possible with conventional techniques. Robotic surgery is usually associated with minimally invasive surgery — procedures performed through tiny incisions. It is also sometimes used in certain traditional open surgical procedures.
About robotic surgery: Robotic surgery with the da Vinci Surgical System was approved by the Food and Drug Administration in 2000. The technique has been rapidly adopted by hospitals in the United States and Europe for use in the treatment of a wide range of conditions.
The most widely used clinical robotic surgical system includes a camera arm and mechanical arms with surgical instruments attached to them. The surgeon controls the arms while seated at a computer console near the operating table. The console gives the surgeon a high-definition, magnified, 3-D view of the surgical site. The surgeon leads other team members who assist during the operation.
- Surgeons who use the robotic system find that for many procedures it enhances precision, flexibility and control during the operation and allows them to better see the site, compared with traditional techniques. Using robotic surgery, surgeons can perform delicate and complex procedures that may have been difficult or impossible with other methods.
- Often, robotic surgery makes minimally invasive surgery possible.
- The benefits of minimally invasive surgery include:
Fewer complications, such as surgical site infection
- Less pain and blood loss
- Quicker recovery
- Smaller, less noticeable scars
Robotic surgery involves risk, some of which may be similar to those of conventional open surgery, such as a small risk of infection and other complications.
Is robotic surgery right for you?
Robotic surgery isn’t an option for everyone. Talk with your doctor about the benefits and risks of robotic surgery and how it compares with other techniques, such as other types of minimally invasive surgery and conventional open surgery.
Across India, the extent to which robotic surgery is used varies widely. Its use depends on a variety of factors. These may include physician training, equipment availability and cultural factors, such as what people are most comfortable doing and what other surgeons in the area do. One study of U.S. hospitals showed that some institutions have a culture that prefers traditional open surgery, while others prefer minimally invasive surgery.