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Regardless of your diagnosis, it is highly recommended to undergo a series of precise tests and examination procedures in order to have your condition properly and accurately evaluated. Consequently, we will be able to determine whether you are eligible for VATS or guide you towards another treatment option if your case does not meet the requirements. Your physician may order two or more of the following tests prior to suggesting VATS, depending on your diagnosis:
If you do qualify for VATS, the date of your surgery will subsequently be chosen and you will be thoroughly instructed how to prepare for the intervention. On the day of your surgery, you will first be put under general anesthesia after we make sure you do not have a history of allergies to certain drugs. A breathing tube will then be attached to your airways to maintain the proper functioning of your lungs and two small incisions will be made in your chest region: one between your ribs, through which a fiber optic camera equipped with a powerful light will be inserted, and another in the same area, through which the appropriate medical instruments will be introduced.
Unlike traditional thoracoscopic surgery, which involves a significantly larger incision across the middle of your chest bone and the spreading of your ribs, this minimally invasive procedure entails considerably lower risks and a faster recovery. After the specific issue is carefully attended to, your incisions will be closed with sutures (stitches) and a sterile dressing will be applied over them to avoid infection. The entire duration of you surgery will vary between one and two hours, depending on your condition.
Although not all patients suffering from thoracic conditions can successfully undergo video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery, this procedure can efficiently diagnose and treat numerous affections with minimal postoperative risks. Thus, some of the most common conditions which can be diagnosed by VATS are:
As a treatment option, VATS has proved to be particularly beneficial for patients whose condition requires one of the following therapeutic interventions:
However, there are certain criteria which disqualify a patient for undergoing video-assisted surgery, including:
Following the completion of the intervention, you will be moved to the intensive care unit, where your vital signs will be regularly monitored by medical professionals for several hours to a day. Considering that video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery is a minimally invasive diagnostic/ treatment procedure, the hospitalization time is typically very short. Therefore, you will be discharged from the hospital within one to three days. You will be intubated throughout your hospital stay. As the effect of the anesthetic wears off, you will notice some or all of the following tubes attached to your body:
During hospitalization, you will also be administered pain relievers to alleviate your discomfort, which is generally mild after VATS, as well as antibiotics to prevent postoperative infections. Complete recovery is generally achieved within a month, depending on the complexity of your initial condition and how fast you heal.
The advantages of VATS preponderantly refer to the patient’s recovery and include notable benefits such as:
Nevertheless, in order to speed up your recovery process, you will be advised to take into consideration a series of important aspects. Your physician will thus recommend some of the following prior to your discharge from the hospital: