Pediatric Video Assisted Thoracoscopic Surgery (VATS)
Video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery (VATS) is surgery performed with the use of a thorascope (a small tube with an eyepiece that the surgeon looks through) and/or an endoscope (a small video camera) to depict structures inside the chest. The use of an endoscope to see allows the surgeon to make small incisions to perform operations that have traditionally been performed through large thoracotomy incisions. Surgery is performed in an operating room and patients must be under general anesthesia.
Pediatric thoracic surgeons perform VATS surgery. In VATS procedures, the surgical team inserts a trocar into an intercostal space via a small incision. Carbon dioxide is pumped into the thoracic cavity to separate the body wall from the organs, so there is an internal space for the surgeon to operate. A thorascope (and/or endoscope) is then set in place for the surgeon to see the chest structures. Several additional incisions or small ports allow the use of miniature instruments.
VATS helps to avoid the more invasive, traditional thoracotomy or sternotomy, diminishes the patient’s pain and trauma to the body, and significantly reduces the hospital stay.