Video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery (VATS) is a minimally invasive surgical technique used to diagnose and treat problems in your chest.

During a video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery procedure, a tiny camera (thoracoscope) and surgical instruments are inserted into your chest through several small incisions. The thoracoscope transmits images of the inside of your chest onto a video monitor, guiding the surgeon in performing the procedure.

Surgeons use the video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery technique to perform a variety of operations, such as:

When compared with a traditional open operation (thoracotomy), video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery may result in less pain and shorten recovery time.

  • Teamwork. At Mayo Clinic, thoracic surgeons work as a team with pulmonologists and radiologists to evaluate and care for people considering video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery. Other professionals are included as needed.
  • Experience. Mayo Clinic thoracic surgeons were among the first in the United States to perform video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery. Each year, Mayo Clinic thoracic surgeons perform more than 700 of these procedures.
  • Careful evaluation. Mayo Clinic doctors will thoroughly evaluate your condition to determine which treatment options best meet your goals. People best suited to video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery include those who haven't had chest surgery previously and those who have good lung function.

    Mayo Clinic offers many other treatment options for people who can't undergo video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery.

  • Research. Mayo Clinic doctors and scientists are studying new uses and techniques to improve the quality and safety of surgical procedures, such as video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery.

Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., ranks #1 for respiratory disorders in the U.S. News & World Report Best Hospitals rankings. Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Fla., and Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale, Ariz., are ranked high performing for respiratory disorders by U.S. News & World Report.

At Mayo Clinic, we assemble a team of specialists who take the time to listen and thoroughly understand your health issues and concerns. We tailor the care you receive to your personal health care needs. You can trust our specialists to collaborate and offer you the best possible outcomes, safety and service.

Mayo Clinic is a not-for-profit medical institution that reinvests all earnings into improving medical practice, research and education. We're constantly involved in innovation and medical research, finding solutions to improve your care and quality of life. Your doctor or someone on your medical team is likely involved in research related to your condition.

Our patients tell us that the quality of their interactions, our attention to detail and the efficiency of their visits mean health care — and trusted answers — like they've never experienced.

Why Choose Mayo Clinic

What Sets Mayo Clinic Apart

Mayo Clinic works with hundreds of insurance companies and is an in-network provider for millions of people. In most cases, Mayo Clinic doesn't require a physician referral. Some insurers require referrals or may have additional requirements for certain medical care. All appointments are prioritized on the basis of medical need.

Video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery is performed by chest (thoracic) surgeons at Mayo Clinic in Arizona. Surgeons work with other experts, such as pulmonologists, oncologists and gastroenterologists, to determine if video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery is the right procedure for you.

For appointments or more information, call the Central Appointment Office at 800-446-2279 (toll-free) 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mountain Standard Time, Monday through Friday or complete an online appointment request form.

Video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery is performed by chest (thoracic) surgeons at Mayo Clinic in Florida. Surgeons work with other experts, such as pulmonologists, oncologists and gastroenterologists, to determine if video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery is the right procedure for you.

For appointments or more information, call the Central Appointment Office at 904-953-0853 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Eastern time, Monday through Friday or complete an online appointment request form.

Video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery is performed by chest (thoracic) surgeons at Mayo Clinic in Minnesota. Surgeons work with other experts, such as pulmonologists, oncologists and gastroenterologists, to determine if video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery is the right procedure for you.

For appointments or more information, call the Central Appointment Office at 507-538-3270 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Central time, Monday through Friday or complete an online appointment request form.

See information on patient services at the three Mayo Clinic locations, including transportation options and lodging.

Mayo Clinic surgeons are studying new ways to use video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery, as well as ways to improve the safety and effectiveness of these procedures.

Learn more about lung disease research and cancer research at Mayo Clinic.

Publications

See a list of publications by Mayo Clinic authors on video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery on PubMed, a service of the National Library of Medicine.

Mar. 08, 2014