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.