Video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery, or VATS, is a minimally invasive surgical procedure used to diagnose and treat illness or injury to the lungs and other organs in the chest cavity.
Using two small incisions (one for a tiny camera with a light source and another to insert special instruments), the procedure results in less pain and quicker recovery times than open chest surgery (thoracotomy).
When is a VATS Procedure Done?
VATS can be used to do the following:
- Diagnose and stage lung cancer
- Remove cancerous and benign lung tumors (a lobectomy)
- Diagnose and treat fluid around the heart or lungs
- Remove portions of a diseased lung
Benefits of VATS
Because VATS is a minimally invasive procedure, it can offer you the following benefits:
- A shorter hospital stay — most patients stay only one to three days
- Less pain and risk of complications
- A faster return to a normal, active lifestyle (about half the time of a thoracotomy)
- The ability to receive any needed follow-up treatment, such as chemotherapy or radiation, sooner after surgery
Some conditions are more effectively treated with open surgery. Ask your thoracic surgeon about your options and which type of procedure will work best for you.
Rush Excellence in Video-Assisted Thoracoscopic Surgery (VATS)
- A three-star program: The Society of Thoracic Surgeons has designated Rush University Medical Center's Department of Cardiovascular and Thoracic Surgery as a three-star program for lobectomy. It is the society's highest rating, awarded to only the top 5% of thoracic surgery programs in the U.S.
- Most VATS surgeries in Illinois: Rush thoracic surgeons have performed more VATS lobectomies than any other hospital in the state and are able to use this procedure for 74% of the lobectomies they perform for stage I lung cancer.
- Faster recovery: Patients who undergo VATS surgeries have shorter hospital stays, less pain and a faster recovery compared to traditional open surgery.