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VATS is a way to do surgery inside the chest. With open surgery, the doctor makes one large cut in your child's chest. But with VATS, the doctor makes several small cuts. VATS also differs from open surgery because the doctor doesn't have to cut through the ribs or breastbone (sternum). The doctor may use VATS to find and treat problems with the lungs, heart, or spine. Or the doctor may use it to operate on other organs in your child's chest.
To start, the doctor will make several small cuts between your child's ribs. These cuts are called incisions. The doctor will put a thin, lighted tube with a camera on it into the chest. This tube is called a thoracoscope, or scope. It lets the doctor see inside your child's chest. Then the doctor will use tiny surgical tools to do the surgery. The doctor will close the incisions with stitches or staples.
How long your child stays in the hospital and how long it takes him or her to recover will depend on why your child is having the surgery.
The scars from the incisions will fade with time. The area around the cuts may ache or feel numb in the weeks after surgery.
Surgery can be stressful for both your child and you. This information will help you understand what you can expect. And it will help you safely prepare for your child's surgery.
Adaptation Date: 6/12/2023
Adapted By: Alberta Health Services
Adaptation Reviewed By: Alberta Health Services
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