Thoracoscopy, also known as video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery (VATS), is a minimally invasive surgical procedure used to diagnose and treat conditions affecting the chest cavity, such as pleural effusion, lung cancer, or pneumothorax (collapsed lung).

During a thoracoscopy, a surgeon makes one or more small incisions in the chest and inserts a thin, flexible tube with a camera attached to the end (known as a thoracoscope). The camera sends images to a monitor, allowing the surgeon to see inside the chest cavity and identify any abnormalities.

The surgeon may also insert other instruments through additional small incisions to perform biopsies, remove tissue samples, or treat any identified problems. These instruments may include forceps, scissors, or lasers.

Thoracoscopy is often preferred over traditional open chest surgery because it is minimally invasive, which means there are smaller incisions, less scarring, and a faster recovery time. Additionally, because thoracoscopy is less invasive, it can often be performed under local anesthesia instead of general anesthesia.

Thoracoscopy is generally a safe procedure, but as with any surgery, there are some risks and potential complications. These can include bleeding, infection, collapsed lung, and damage to surrounding organs or tissues.

Thoracoscopy is commonly used to diagnose and treat lung cancer, pleural effusions, and pneumothorax. It may also be used to evaluate and treat other conditions affecting the chest cavity, such as empyema (pus in the chest cavity) or chest trauma.

If you are scheduled for a thoracoscopy, your doctor will give you instructions on how to prepare for the procedure, including what medications to avoid and whether you should fast before the surgery. It is important to follow these instructions carefully to ensure a safe and successful procedure.

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