Video-Assisted Thoracic Surgery (VATS) to Treat Lung Cancer
Lung surgery is surgery done to repair or remove diseased lung tissue. Video-assisted thoracic surgery is a minimally invasive lung surgery and an excellent option for treating lung cancer in many patients. VATS is used most often in treating stages one and two lung cancers.
VATS involves using a small camera that is introduced into the patient through a one-inch incision, which allows the physician to view the instruments and the anatomy. Two additional one-inch incisions are employed to pass instruments through and tissue or lung lobe removal is done through a separate three-inch incision.
With VATS, the surgeon uses small cuts, instead of the traditional, long, open chest cavity incision that spreads open the rib cage. VATS is much less invasive and reduces incisional pain and allows for a faster recovery.
Treatments using VATS
- Remove cancer (such as lung cancer) or biopsy an unknown growth
- Treat injuries that cause lung tissue to collapse (pneumothorax or hemothorax)
- Treat permanently collapsed lung tissue (atelectasis)
- Remove lung tissue that is diseased or damaged from emphysema or bronchiectasis
- Remove blood or blood clots (hemothorax)
- Remove tumors, such as solitary pulmonary nodule
- Inflate lung tissue that has collapsed (This may be due to disease, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or an injury.)
- Remove infection in the chest cavity (empyema)
- Stop fluid buildup in the chest cavity (pleurodesis)
- Remove a blood clot from the pulmonary artery (pulmonary embolism)
- Treat complications of tuberculosis
Video-assisted thoracic surgery can be used to treat many of these conditions. In some cases, video surgery may not be possible, and the surgeon may have to switch to an open surgery.