Video-assisted Thoracoscopic Surgery (VATS)

What is VATS?

Video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery (VATS) uses small incisions to insert a camera in the chest. This allows the doctor to see the lungs or esophagus.

In open surgeries, doctors perform a thoracotomy. This requires a large cut in the chest and around the back. The surgeon then spreads the ribs apart to see inside the chest.

Using VATS, doctors only need to make small cuts.The camera gives the surgeon visibility to do the procedure without having to spread the ribs.

The experts at the UPMC Esophageal and Lung Surgery Institute have vast skill with video- and robot-assisted surgeries. We use VATS in many minimally invasive lung and esophageal procedures.

Our goal — with any treatment — is to help you return to your normal routine as soon as possible.

Benefits of Video-assisted Thoracoscopic Surgery

Less invasive techniques like VATS have many benefits, including:

  • Less scarring
  • Lower risk of complications
  • Shorter hospital stay
  • Faster recovery

Our surgeons often use VATS during minimally invasive:

Robotic VATS for Lung and Esophageal Diseases

Our surgeons also use VATS in robotic lung and esophageal surgeries.

During a robotic procedure, the surgeon:

  • Inserts a camera and surgical tools through small incisions.
  • Sits at a console with a high-definition 3D screen and controls the surgical tools.

The robot gives the surgeon greater precision and visibility during the procedure. He or she is always in control of every movement the robotic surgical system makes.

VATS: What to Expect During Minimally Invasive Lung and Esophageal Procedures

Your doctor will give you details about how to prepare for your type of minimally invasive surgery.

When you arrive for the procedure, you will receive general anesthesia and sleep throughout surgery.

During minimally surgery using VATS, your surgeon will:

  • Make two or more small openings in your chest.
  • Insert a small telescope in one opening and surgical tools in the other.
  • View your lungs or esophagus through a camera connected to the telescope. This provides more detailed diagnosis and guides him or her throughout surgery.

Once complete, the surgeon will close all incisions and a member of the surgical team will move you to a recovery room.

Contact Us

Contact the UPMC Esophageal and Lung Surgery Institute with questions or for more information.

Thoracic and Foregut Surgery Division: 412-647-7555

UPMC | Affiliated with the University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences | Supplemental content provided by Healthwise, Incorporated. To learn more, visit www.healthwise.org

For help in finding a doctor or health service that suits your needs, call the UPMC Referral Service at 412-647-UPMC (8762) or 1-800-533-UPMC (8762). Select option 1.

UPMC is an equal opportunity employer. UPMC policy prohibits discrimination or harassment on the basis of race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, age, sex, genetics, sexual orientation, gender identity, marital status, familial status, disability, veteran status, or any other legally protected group status. Further, UPMC will continue to support and promote equal employment opportunity, human dignity, and racial, ethnic, and cultural diversity. This policy applies to admissions, employment, and access to and treatment in UPMC programs and activities. This commitment is made by UPMC in accordance with federal, state, and/or local laws and regulations.

Medical information made available on UPMC.com is not intended to be used as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. You should not rely entirely on this information for your health care needs. Ask your own doctor or health care provider any specific medical questions that you have. Further, UPMC.com is not a tool to be used in the case of an emergency. If an emergency arises, you should seek appropriate emergency medical services.

UPMC
Pittsburgh, PA, USA | UPMC.com