Reasons for Procedure
- Diagnosing and treating lung cancer , including lymph node biopsy
- Removing diseased lung sections or lobes
- Diagnosing lung infections
- Treating a collapsed lung—atelectasis
- Draining fluid out of the chest cavity
- Diagnosing and treating of the thymus gland
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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
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 medications. You may be asked to stop taking some medications up to one week before the procedure.
- Arrange for someone to drive you home.
- Arrange for help at home during your recovery.
- 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
- 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.
- Chest x-rays to monitor healing—The drainage chest tubes will be removed once your lungs are healed.
- Instructions about nutrition and physical activity
- Washing their hands
- Wearing gloves or masks
- Keeping your incisions covered
- Washing your hands often and reminding your healthcare providers to do the same
- Reminding your healthcare providers to wear gloves or masks
- Not allowing others to touch your incision
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
- New or worsening symptoms
- Sudden chest pain
- Sudden shortness of breath
American Thoracic Society http://patients.thoracic.org
The Society of Thoracic Surgeons http://www.sts.org
Canadian Society for Vascular Surgery http://canadianvascular.ca
The Lung Association http://www.lung.ca
A patient’s guide to lung surgery: Recovering in the hospital. University of Southern California Cardiothoracic Surgery website. Available at: http://www.cts.usc.edu/lpg-thoracoscopy-recoveringinthehospital.html. Accessed February 2, 2015.
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. Accessed February 2, 2015.
A patient’s guide to lung surgery: When to call your doctor. University of Southern California Cardiothoracic Surgery website. Available at: http://www.cts.usc.edu/lpg-thoracoscopy-whentocallyourdoctor.html. Accessed February 2, 2015.
Video-assisted thoracic surgery. Harvard Health Publications website. Available at: http://www.health.harvard.edu/diagnostic-tests/video-assisted-thoracic-surgery.htm. Updated August 11, 2014. Accessed February 2, 2015.
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/tests-procedures/video-assisted-thoracic-surgery/basics/definition/prc-20021362. Updated May 8, 2014. Accessed February 2, 2015.
6/6/2011 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed: Mills E, Eyawo O, et al. Smoking cessation reduces postoperative complications: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Am J Med. 2011;124(2):144-154.
- Reviewer: Michael Woods, MD
- Review Date: 02/2015 -
- Update Date: 06/20/2013 -