Frequently Asked Questions
1. What is a major advantage of video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery (VATS)?
When compared to a traditional open operation (thoracotomy), video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery usually results in less pain, fewer complications, and a shorter recovery time.
2. How long does video assisted thoracoscopic surgery (VATS) take?
VATS can take two to three hours and require you to stay in the hospital for a few days, depending on the type of the procedure and your condition.
3. Is VATS a minimally invasive procedure?
It is considered minimally invasive surgery. It employs a thoracoscope, which is a type of video camera. That is, it makes smaller incisions (cuts) than traditional open surgery.
4. What are the risks of VATS?
The risk of video assisted thoracoscopic surgery is air leak, abnormal heart rhythms, excess bleeding, wound infection, blood clot formation, collection of thick pus in the chest cavity(empyema), pneumonia and atelectasis.
5. How long does it take to drain fluid from lungs?
It typically takes 10 to 15 minutes, but it can take longer if there's a lot of fluid in your pleural space.
6. How long will it take to recover from a VATS procedure?
Stitches or staples will be used in the incisional site. These will be removed by the doctor one to two weeks after your surgery. The length of time you will need to recover is determined by the surgery done. However, you will most likely need to rest at home for at least 1 to 2 weeks.
7. What muscles are cut during traditional thoracotomy surgery?
In the majority of the cases, a long incision through the chest muscles is made, and the ribs were cut or spread to allow the surgeon access to the diseased area.
8. Are ribs broken during a thoracotomy?
The surgeon may need to break or remove a rib in some cases. The cut runs from your chest to the back, passing under your armpits. The size and precise location of the incision are determined by the type of surgery.