Video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery

Video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery (VATS) is a minimally invasive surgical procedure that is used to diagnose and treat problems in your chest. This procedure involves the surgeon passing a special thin tube that has a video camera on one end, called a thoracoscope and other surgical instruments through a small incision on your chest.

Video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery may be performed with other procedures such as lobectomy, wedge resection, lung biopsy, drainage of pleural effusions and mediastinal, pericardial and thymus thoracoscopic procedures.

When is a video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery done?

Cardiothoracic surgeons use a video-assisted thoracoscopic procedure to do several procedures such as:

  • A biopsy to diagnose lung cancer and other chest cancers
  • A lung surgery to treat lung cancer
  • Lung volume reduction surgery
  • A procedure to remove excess fluid or air from the lungs
  • To relieve excessive sweating
  • To treat certain oesophagal disorders
  • To remove a portion of the entire oesophagus with the procedure called esophagectomy
  • To repair hiatal hernia
  • To remove the thymus gland through a procedure called thymectomy

Dr Dongo may recommend video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery if you are not a good candidate for open surgery depending on your health. Video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery may not be recommended for people who have undergone chest surgery previously.

What does surgery entail?

During a video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery, Dr Dongo will make a small incision in your chest and insert a thoracoscope along with other small surgical instruments. The thoracoscope transmits real-life images of the affected area onto a monitor to help guide the surgeon throughout the procedure. He will then use tools to remove part of the lung, drain fluid or air from the lungs, or perform a procedure involving the heart or other regions involving the thorax. Video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery results in less pain, fewer complications, a short hospital stay and a shortened recovery time.


A cardiothoracic surgeon is a specialist medical doctor who performs operations on the heart, lungs, esophagus, and other organs in the chest. Dr Lehlohonolo Dongo's Qualifications.


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