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A Patient's Guide to Lung Surgery

The Thoracoscopy Procedure


A thoracoscopy uses an endoscope to visually examine the pleura, lungs, and mediastinum and to obtain tissue for testing purposes. An endoscope is an illuminated optic instrument that is inserted through an incision.

  • The anesthesiologist gives you general anesthesia, which lets you sleep and keeps you free from pain during surgery. Once you're asleep, you're positioned comfortably on your side.
  • Several small incisions are made in your side.
  • The surgeon inserts a thin, tubelike instrument containing a tiny camera through one of the incisions. This camera allows the surgeon to view your lungs on a video monitor. Surgical instruments are inserted through the other incisions.
  • When the procedure is finished, one or more tubes may be temporarily placed in the chest to drain fluid and air. The incisions are then closed with sutures or staples.

Possible incision sites for thoracoscopy
Possible incision sites for thoracoscopy.



> Next: Thoracoscopy: Risks and Complications


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