Video-Assisted Thoracic Surgery
Reasons for Procedure
- Diagnosing and treating lung cancer , including lymph node biopsy.
- Removing diseased lung sections or lobes
- Diagnosing lung infections
- Treating collapsed lungs
- Draining fluid out of the chest cavity
- Diagnosing and treating of the thymus (organ in the chest)
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- Less pain and faster recovery
- Shorter hospital stay
- Fewer complications
- Less scarring
- Anesthesia-related problems
- Air leaking from the lungs or collapsed lung.
- Chest pain
- The need to switch to open chest surgery (eg, to remove a larger area of the lung)
- Pre-existing heart or lung condition
- Previous chest surgery
- Use of certain medicines
What to Expect
Prior to Procedure
- Physical exam and blood tests
- Pulmonary function tests —to help the doctor determine how well your lungs are functioning
- CT scan
- Tests to evaluate how well the heart is functioning
- Talk to your doctor about your medicines. You may be asked to stop taking some medicines up to one week before the procedure (eg, aspirin , clopidogrel , warfarin ).
- Arrange for someone to drive you home and to help you at home.
- Eat a light meal the night before. Do not eat or drink anything after midnight.
Description of the Procedure
Immediately After Procedure
How Long Will It Take?
How Much Will It Hurt?
Average Hospital Stay
- Fluids and pain medicine through an IV line
- Assistance sitting up and moving around soon after surgery
- Directions on how to do deep breathing and coughing exercises—You will learn how to use an incentive spirometer. This device helps you expand your lungs when taking a deep breath. This will prevent pneumonia .
- Chest x-rays to monitor healing—The drainage chest tubes will be removed once your lungs are healed.
- Instructions about nutrition and physical activity
- Walk daily.
- Take pain medicine as directed. Some pain medicine causes constipation . To prevent this, drink plenty of fluids and eat high-fiber foods.
- Continue to use the incentive spirometer. Do deep breathing. You will also be encouraged to cough.
- Keep the incision area clean and dry.
- Limit certain activities until you have recovered.
Call Your Doctor
- Cough or shortness of breath
- Coughing up yellow, green, or bloody mucus
- New chest pain
- Signs of infection, including fever and chills
- Redness, swelling, increasing pain, excessive bleeding, or discharge from an incision site
- Pain and/or swelling in your feet, calves, or legs
- Persistent nausea, vomiting, and/or diarrhea
- Other worrisome symptoms
- Sudden chest pain
- Sudden shortness of breath
American College of Surgeons http://www.facs.org/
Society of Thoracic Surgeons http://www.sts.org/
Canadian Lung Association http://www.lung.ca/
Health Canada http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/index%5Fe.html/
A patient’s guide to lung surgery: recovering at the hospital. University of Southern California, Cardiothoracic Surgery website. Available at: http://www.cts.usc.edu/lpg-thoracoscopy-recoveringinthehospital.html. Accessed March 9, 2010.
A patient’s guide to lung surgery: recovering at home. University of Southern California, Cardiothoracic Surgery website. Available at: http://www.cts.usc.edu/lpg-thoracoscopy-recoveringathome.html. March 9, 2010.
A patient’s guide to lung surgery: when to call the doctor. University of Southern California, Cardiothoracic Surgery website. Available at: http://www.cts.usc.edu/lpg-thoracoscopy-whentocallyourdoctor.html. Accessed March 9, 2010.
Pulmonary lobectomy. EBSCO Health Library website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/healthLibrary/. Updated November 2009. Accessed March 8, 2010.
Robot-assisted laparoscopic procedures. EBSCO Health Library website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/healthLibrary/. Updated December 2009. Accessed March 8, 2010.
Robot-assisted thoracic procedures. EBSCO Health Library website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/healthLibrary/. Updated December 2009. Accessed March 8, 2010.
Video-assisted thoracic surgery. Harvard Health Publications website. Available at: http://www.health.harvard.edu/diagnostic-tests/video-assisted-thoracic-surgery.htm. Accessed March 8, 2010.
Video-assisted thorascopic surgery (VATS). Rush University Medical Center website. Available at: http://www.rush.edu/rumc/page-1160429783340.html. Accessed March 8, 2010.
Video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery (VATS). Mayo Clinic website. Available at: http://www.mayoclinic.org/video-assisted-thoracic-surgery. Accessed March 8, 2010.
6/6/2011 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed/ : Mills E, Eyawo O, Lockhart I, Kelly S, Wu P, Ebbert JO. Smoking cessation reduces postoperative complications: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Am J Med. 2011;124(2):144-154.e8.
- Reviewer: Michael Woods, MD
- Review Date: 02/2014 -
- Update Date: 06/20/2013 -