Video-assisted Thoracoscopic Surgery

WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW:

  • Video-assisted thoracoscopic (thor-ah-KOS-kah-pik) surgery (VATS) is surgery done to look inside your chest using a video scope. VATS is usually done to diagnose or treat conditions of the lungs and pleura (thin lining covering the lungs). These conditions include infections, cancer, and too much air or fluid in the chest cavity. VATS may also be done to give medicines directly to the lungs or do a biopsy (take tissue samples). Your caregiver may also remove small lung nodules (lumps) or a portion of the lung using this surgery. VATS may also diagnose conditions of the spine or esophagus.

  • During this surgery, small incisions (cuts) are made on your chest. The video scope and other special tools are inserted through these small incisions. A video scope is a long bendable tube with a tiny fiber optic camera connected on the end. This gives caregivers a clear view inside your chest while watching the images on a monitor. Having VATS as early as possible may diagnose and treat your condition and prevent further complications.

INSTRUCTIONS:

Take your medicine as directed.

Call your primary healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.

  • Antibiotics: This medicine is given to fight or prevent an infection caused by bacteria. Always take your antibiotics exactly as ordered by your primary healthcare provider. Do not stop taking your medicine unless directed by your primary healthcare provider. Never save antibiotics or take leftover antibiotics that were given to you for another illness.

  • Pain medicine: You may need medicine to take away or decrease pain.

    • Learn how to take your medicine. Ask what medicine and how much you should take. Be sure you know how, when, and how often to take it.

    • Do not wait until the pain is severe before you take your medicine. Tell caregivers if your pain does not decrease.

    • Pain medicine can make you dizzy or sleepy. Prevent falls by calling someone when you get out of bed or if you need help.

Ask for information about where and when to go for follow-up visits:

For continuing care, treatments, or home services, ask for more information.

  • Ask your caregiver when you should return to have your wound checked, and the stitches or drains removed.

Bathing with stitches:

Follow your primary healthcare provider's instructions on when you can bathe. Gently wash the part of your body that has the stitches. Do not rub on the stitches to dry your skin. Pat the area gently with a towel. When the area is dry, put on a clean, new bandage as directed.

Rest when you need to while you heal after surgery.

Slowly start to do more each day. Return to your daily activities as directed.

CONTACT A CAREGIVER IF:

  • You have a fever.

  • You have nausea (upset stomach) or vomiting (throwing up).

  • Your skin is itchy, swollen, or has a rash.

  • You have chest pain or trouble breathing that is getting worse over time.

  • You have questions or concerns about your surgery, or medicine.

SEEK CARE IMMEDIATELY IF:

  • You have more pain or bleeding in the incision area.

  • Your bandage becomes soaked with blood.

  • Your wound is swollen, or has pus or a foul-smelling odor.

  • You suddenly feel lightheaded and have trouble breathing.

  • You have new and sudden chest pain. You may have more pain when you take deep breaths or cough. You may cough up blood.

  • Your arm or leg feels warm, tender, and painful. It may look swollen and red.

© 2013 Truven Health Analytics Inc. Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of the Blausen Databases or Truven Health Analytics.

The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

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