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Thoracoscopy

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:

Thoracoscopy is a procedure to look inside your chest cavity with an endoscope. An endoscope is a narrow bendable tube that has a light and camera on the end. The endoscope is inserted into your chest through small incisions in the chest wall. Thoracoscopy may be done to diagnose or treat conditions of the lungs and pleura (thin lining covering the lungs).

HOW TO PREPARE:

The week before your procedure:

  • Arrange to have someone drive you home after discharge.
  • Tell your surgeon about all medicines you currently take. He or she will tell you if you need to stop any medicine for surgery, and when to stop. He or she will tell you which medicines to take or not take on the day of surgery.
  • An ultrasound or CT scan may be done to select a good entry site for the procedure. You may also need to have blood tests, an EKG, or chest x-ray. Ask your healthcare provider for more information about these and other tests that you may need.

The night before your procedure:

You may be told not to eat or drink anything after midnight.

The day of your procedure:

  • Take only the medicines your surgeon told you to take.
  • An IV will be placed in a vein. You may be given medicine or liquids through the IV.
  • An anesthesiologist will talk to you before your surgery. Tell him or her if you or anyone in your family has had a problem with anesthesia.
  • You or a close family member will be asked to sign a legal document called a consent form. It gives healthcare providers permission to do the procedure or surgery. It also explains the problems that may happen, and your choices. Make sure all your questions are answered before you sign this form.

WHAT WILL HAPPEN:

What will happen:

General anesthesia will keep you asleep and free from pain during surgery. Small incisions will be made between your ribs. Your surgeon will insert an endoscope and other instruments into these small incisions. If there is a lesion, a biopsy may be done, or the lesion may be removed. A tube may be placed in one of the incisions. This will allow your surgeon to insert medicines directly into your lungs. A tube may also be needed to allow extra fluids to drain. This tube will help your lungs fill back up with air after the procedure. The remaining incisions will be closed with stitches.

After your procedure:

You will be taken to a room where you can rest. Healthcare providers will watch your closely. When they see that you are okay, you may be allowed to go home. If you are staying in the hospital, you will be taken to your hospital room. Do not get out of bed until your healthcare provider says it is okay. A bandage will be used to cover your stitches or staples. This bandage keeps the area clean and dry to help prevent infection. A healthcare provider may remove the bandage soon after your procedure to check the area.

CONTACT YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IF:

  • You have a fever.
  • You get a cold or the flu.
  • You have questions or concerns about your procedure.

Seek Care Immediately if

  • You have new or worse shortness of breath.
  • You have chest pain.

Risks

You may bleed more than expected or get an infection. You may have trouble breathing or develop pneumonia. Other organs or tissues near your lung may be damaged. You may have pain, which may make it hard for you to breathe well. Air and fluid may leak from the lung that was opened. You may get a blood clot in your limb. This may become life-threatening.

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your healthcare providers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment.

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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.

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.