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Thoracoscopy (say "thor-uh-KAW-skuh-pee") is a procedure your doctor can use to find and treat some problems in your chest. It may be used to take a sample of tissue for a biopsy. Or it can check for problems such as fluid collecting around your lungs (pleural effusion). It also can be used to drain extra fluid around your lungs and do a procedure to keep the fluid from coming back.
The doctor will make one or more small cuts (incisions) between your ribs. Then the doctor will put a thin, lighted tube with a camera on it into your chest. This tube is called a thoracoscope (say "thuh-RAY-kuh-skohp"), or scope. It lets the doctor see inside your chest. The doctor will close the incisions with stitches or staples. You may have a tube coming out of the area to drain fluid after the procedure.
How long you stay in the hospital and how long your recovery takes will depend on why you are having the procedure.
The scars from the incisions will fade with time. The area around the incisions may ache or feel numb in the weeks after the procedure.
Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.
Procedures can be stressful. This information will help you understand what you can expect. And it will help you safely prepare for your procedure.
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Current as of: February 24, 2020
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine & David C. Stuesse MD - Cardiac and Thoracic Surgery & Thomas M. Bailey MD - Family Medicine
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