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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.
Less invasive techniques like VATS have many benefits, including:
Our surgeons often use VATS during minimally invasive:
Our surgeons also use VATS in robotic lung and esophageal surgeries.
During a robotic procedure, the surgeon:
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.
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 minimal surgery using VATS, your surgeon will:
Once complete, the surgeon will close all incisions and a member of the surgical team will move you to a recovery room.