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What is video-assisted thoracic surgery?


Video-assisted thoracic surgery is a minimally invasive approach to treating the lungs. Three small incisions (each about 1-inch) are made and a “port” created, allowing a small videoscope (thoracoscope) to be inserted into the patient’s chest cavity. The videoscope transmits images of the lung onto a computer monitor, thus allowing the surgical team to view the operative area. Other special instruments can then be inserted to perform a lung biopsy and surgically remove sections of the lung (lobectomy), if medically indicated. As a result, lung cancer diagnosis and treatment can occur during the same procedure.


What are the benefits of video-assisted thoracic surgery?

Traditional or “open” chest surgery involves one long (6-to 8-inch) incision, as well as dividing and spreading the sternum and major muscles in the chest wall. In comparison, patients undergoing video-assisted thoracic surgery have only three small one-inch incisions.

Because there is much less trauma during this procedure, patients experience:

  • less post-operative pain 

  • shorter hospital stays 

  • better healing and quicker recovery 

  • reduced bleeding and infection risk 

Who is a candidate for video-assisted thoracic surgery?

Video-assisted surgery will be the first option considered, but there may be reasons why traditional “open” chest surgery is preferable for a particular patient. This decision will be made after consultation with the thoracic surgeon.


Contact us

To make an appointment with a Maimonides thoracic surgeon, call 718-283-7686 or request an appointment online.