Video-Assisted Thoracoscopic Surgery (VATS)

What is video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery (VATS)?

Video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery (VATS) is a minimally invasive surgery used to diagnose and treat problems in the thorax (chest).

In VATS, a tiny camera called a thoracoscope and surgical instruments are inserted into the chest through one or more small incisions.

The thoracoscope transmits images onto a video monitor to guide the surgeon in performing the procedure.

Compared with traditional surgery, minimally invasive surgery such as VATS offers benefits such as:

  • Decreased postoperative pain
  • Less bleeding
  • Reduced risk of infection
  • Shorter hospital stay
  • More rapid recovery and return to work

Why do you need VATS?

VATS is used to to treat a wide variety of conditions involving the thorax (chest).

Some uses for VATS include:

  • Biopsy for lung cancer, mesothelioma and other chest cancers
  • Lung surgery for cancer and lung volume reduction surgery
  • Removing excess fluid (pleural effusion) or air from the area between the lungs and chest wall
  • Minimally invasive heart procedures such as atrial fibrillation ablation, pacemaker lead placement, and mitral valve repair
  • Treating hyperhidrosis (excessive sweating)
  • Many other surgeries that involve the heart, ribs, spine, oesophagus and diaphragm

Who should not undergo VATS?

In general, because VATS is a minimally invasive technique, it is a preferred option to traditional open surgeries.

However, VATS may not be appropriate for people who have had chest surgery previously.

Your doctor will carefully evaluate the best and safest surgery for your medical condition.

What are the risks and complications of VATS?

This procedure is generally considered safe and effective.

Like all surgical procedures however, there are some general risks, such as:

  • Air leak
  • Partial collapsed lung (atelectasis)
  • Abnormal heart rhythms
  • Excess bleeding
  • Infections such as pneumonia
  • Blood clots
  • Shock
  • Anesthesia-related effects

Why choose Mount Elizabeth Hospitals?

With modern technology, facilities and a skilled team of specialists and staff, Mount Elizabeth Orchard and Mount Elizabeth Novena in Singapore offer quality surgical care. This includes minimally invasive procedures such as video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery (VATS). You can be assured of holistic care that lowers recovery time and improves success rates.

Estimated cost

Private healthcare can be affordable. Use our Hospital Bill Estimator to determine the estimated cost of this procedure. If you have hospital insurance, find out how you can use your insurance.

Our cardiothoracic surgeons

Our experienced heart surgeons at Mount Elizabeth Hospitals are dedicated to optimal outcomes that get you back on the road to recovery.

Please check with your insurance provider for more information, and for their most up-to-date list of panel doctors.

^Specialists may qualify to be on the Extended Panel (EP). You may enjoy selected panel benefits depending on your policy and riders.
This page has been reviewed by our medical content reviewers.

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