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Video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery (VATS) is a way to do surgery inside the chest using several small cuts (incisions) instead of one larger incision (open surgery). VATS also is different from open surgery because it does not require the doctor to cut through the ribs or breastbone (sternum). The doctor may have used VATS to find and treat problems with the lungs, heart, or spine. Or VATS may have been done to operate on other organs in your chest.
Your chest may be sore where the doctor made the incisions and put in the surgical tools. This usually gets better after 2 to 3 weeks.
You will have stitches or staples in the incisions. Your doctor will take these out 1 to 2 weeks after your surgery.
The amount of time you will need to recover depends on the surgery you had. But you probably will need to take it easy at home for at least 1 to 2 weeks.
This care sheet gives you a general idea about how long it will take for you to recover. But each person recovers at a different pace. Follow the steps below to get better as quickly as possible.
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 or nurse call line 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.
Call 911 anytime you think you may need emergency care. For example, call if:
Call your doctor or nurse call line now or seek immediate medical care if:
Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse call line if you have any problems.
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Current as of: July 6, 2021
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine & David C. Stuesse MD - Cardiac and Thoracic Surgery
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.
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