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What is minimally invasive thoracic surgery (or VATS)?

Minimally invasive thoracic surgery is also known by the name VATS (short for video-assisted thoracic surgery). Utilizing specially-adapted, videoendoscopic instruments, VATS is used for a variety of diagnostic and therapeutic procedures and involves smaller incisions in the chest wall without the need to spread the ribs to gain access to the lungs or esophagus. In select patients, most procedures that can be done through a standard incision can also be performed with VATS. Benefits for patients include less postoperative pain, shorter hospital stays, faster recovery from surgery, and a quicker return to full activity.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.