Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"What is video-assisted thoracoscopy?"
Is it normal now for a doctor to have video assistance when he works on me?
There are two potential procedures here. Medical thoracoscopy vs Video-assisted Thoracic surgery or VATS. Medical thoracoscopy involved placement of an endoscope through the skin, fat, muscle and bone into the pleural space (inside the chest) to visualize the lung and pleural space directly (as opposed to CT scans for example). This can be a diagnostic test or a therapeutic intervention depending on the indication and/or diagnosis. Video assisted thoracic surgery is a minimally invasive surgical approach, in which an endoscope is inserted into the right or left chest (similar to simple thoracoscopy) to visualize other surgical instruments which are placed through several additional small (usually 0.5 to 1.2cm) ports. It is similar to laparoscopic surgery for the abdomen, except in the chest. It is considered a less invasive approach to performing some thoracic surgeries. Both thoracoscopy and VATS are becoming more and more common in medical and surgical practice, because they offer direct visualization inside of the chest therefore potentially providing more information to help diagnose or treat a condition, and in the case of surgery it is less invasive, usually leading to quicker recovery and less pain. I highly recommend speaking to your physician about thoracoscopy or VATS prior to undergoing the procedure(s) and discussing the full risks, benefits and alternatives.
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