Skip to Content

Video-assisted Thoracoscopic Surgery


Video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery (VATS) is surgery to look at your lung with a scope. A scope is a long tube with a camera on the end. 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.



You may need any of the following:

  • Prescription pain medicine may be given. Ask your primary healthcare provider (PHP) how to take this medicine safely.

  • NSAIDs help decrease swelling and pain or fever. This medicine is available with or without a doctor's order. NSAIDs can cause stomach bleeding or kidney problems in certain people. If you take blood thinner medicine, always ask your PHP if NSAIDs are safe for you. Always read the medicine label and follow directions.

  • Antibiotics help prevent infection caused by bacteria.

  • Take your medicine as directed. Contact your PHP 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.

Follow up with your PHP or surgeon as directed:

Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

Wound care:

Care for your wound as directed. If you have medical glue, it will come off on its own. If you have stitches, you will need to return to have them removed. When you are allowed to bathe, carefully wash the wound with soap and water. Gently pat the area dry.

Contact your PHP or surgeon if:

  • You have a fever or chills.

  • Your wound is red, swollen, or draining pus.

  • You have nausea or are vomiting.

  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.

Seek care immediately or call 911 if:

  • Blood soaks through your bandage.

  • You have severe pain.

  • You have trouble breathing.

© 2015 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 A.D.A.M., Inc. 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.