Top of the page
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 in the pleural space 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.
Procedures can be stressful. This information will help you understand what you can expect. And it will help you safely prepare for your procedure.
Current as of: March 9, 2022
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine & David C. Stuesse MD - Cardiac and Thoracic Surgery & Thomas M. Bailey MD - Family Medicine
Care instructions adapted under license by your healthcare professional. If you have questions about a medical condition or this instruction, always ask your healthcare professional. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information.
©2006-2022 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.