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Let’s Deal With Thoracoscopy in Detail – Its Treatments and Results

Thoracoscopy is also known as pleuroscopy. It is a medical procedure to examine the chest cavity. It is done using a thoracoscope, which is a type of endoscope. Surgical Thoracoscopy is commonly referred to as Video-assisted Thoracic Surgery (VATS).

Why a Thoracoscopy is Done?

A thoracoscopy may also be used to diagnose and treat other diseases of the chest, not just cancer. A thoracoscopy is used for evaluating effusions, pluerodesis in patients and breaking loculations in empyema cases. Thoracoscopy is done to diagnose and know the stage of cancer within the chest cavity such as lung cancer, mesothelioma and esophageal cancer. To examine the tissue, some samples are taken from the linings of the lungs, pleural spaces, chest wall, space in the chest between the lungs and membrane that surrounds the heart.

Some procedures that can be carried out in the chest cavity during a thoracoscopy include:

• remove small lung tumors

• drain fluid or pus from the pleura or lung

• put medicines or other treatments directly into the lung (pleurodesis)

Why Conducts Thoracoscopy?

Dr. Arun Kanala, Consultant Thoracic & General Surgeon at Al Zahara Hospital, conducts diagnosis and provides treatment to patients with benign and malignant neoplasms and other disorders of the lung as well as esophagus, mediastinum and chest wall. The hospital’s multidisciplinary team comprises experienced surgeons, medical oncologists, pulmonary medicine experts, radiation oncologists, radiologists, nurses and general anaesthetician.

How is a Thoracoscopy Carried Out?

A thoracoscopy is done in the operating room of a hospital by the dedicated thoracic oncology multidisciplinary team. Anaesthesia is given so that you fell asleep during the procedure. You may be in the hospital for 1 to 4 days after a thoracoscopy.

Doctors recommend patients not to eat or drink anything for 6 to 12 hours before the test. In the surgery, 1 or 3 small cuts or incisions are made on the side of the chest between 2 ribs and through the chest wall. Then a thoracoscope is inserted through one of the incisions into the chest cavity. If in case you undergo VATS to remove all small lung tumors, the other incisions are used to put surgical instruments into the chest.

If you are having a diseased lung and thoracoscopy is being carried out, then in such situation the lung may be deflated so that your doctor can have more room to look around in the chest cavity. Air may also be filled in the empty space around the lung. This, in turn, makes the lung smaller thereby making the doctor have a close look at the structures on and around the lung.

The doctors might also take the samples of fluids, cells or tissues from the abnormal looking area so as to have a keen look at them under a microscope. The thoracoscope is then removed and the incisions are closed with stitches. To help drain fluid and air, a chest tube may be inserted into one incision. You can go home once the lung is working properly and the chest tube is removed.

What Do The Results Mean?

If the reports are abnormal, then it means:

• There is cancer in the lung or in the lining that protects your lungs or in the esophagus

• Cancer has made its way to the lymph nodes or to the chest wall

• Cancer has spread to the lungs from other parts of the body

• There is pleural effusion

What To Do In Case Abnormality Is Found

If after conducting thoracoscopy, your doctor finds out that the reports are normal, then he/she will suggest you to undergo few more tests or follow some procedures and seek more suitable treatment. If you want a second opinion on your test reports or looking to undergo thoracoscopy, then you can consult Dr. Arun Kanala. He is an experienced thoracic surgeon and a specialist of thoracoscopy in Dubai. He exclusively performs lung surgeries with a special focus on minimally invasive surgery – VATS at Al Zahra Cancer Center in Dubai.

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