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Cancer Treatment Centers of America

Video-assisted thoracic surgery (VATS)

We use video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery (VATS), a minimally invasive surgical technique, to diagnose and treat symptoms in the chest, including lung cancer.

During the VATS procedure, one or more small incisions, or “ports,” are made in the chest. Then, a thorascope (a type of endoscope with a small video camera) and surgical tools are inserted through the incision(s). The thorascope transmits an image of the chest cavity onto a video monitor to help guide the procedure.

VATS can be used to biopsy lung tissue and to perform complex procedures, such as lung resections (lobectomy).

This innovative procedure may result in less post-operative pain, fewer complications, and a shorter hospital stay than traditional surgical approaches, like thoracotomies, which require a single large incision in the chest.

Patients who have never undergone chest surgery are usually good candidates for VATS, as scar tissue can make accessing the chest cavity more challenging.

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