Thoracoscopy is a procedure in which a narrow tube with a camera attachment, also known as an endoscope, is inserted through an incision in the chest wall to allow doctors to assess lung cancer, remove tissues for biopsy and deal with fluid that has been building up in the lungs.
During the procedure, which takes between one and two hours, the patient is sedated, and the doctor makes several small incisions between the ribs. A trachea tube is inserted to aid the patient's breathing by way of a ventilator. The endoscope is then inserted into the chest area and instruments are utilized to take tissues samples of affected areas. A tube remains to drain residual air and fluids from the chest area, and patients generally remain in the hospital for two to five days.
Once released from the hospital, patients are urged to go easy in the beginning, gradually building up to regular exercise, and doctors also suggest that patients drink copious amounts of liquids, although coffee, soft drinks and tea are not recommended.