CHI Healht Lung Health Center’s Dr. Marcus Balters has performed a number of procedures using a minimally-invasive technique --video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery -- or VATS. It’s used to diagnose and treat lung (and other chest) problems.

VATS is performed with a small video scope and special instruments to minimize trauma. Three small (about one-inch) incisions are made, compared to the long six- to eight-inch incision made during the traditional surgery. The scope transmits images of the operative area onto a computer monitor for the surgeon to see.

The traditional open chest operation is a thoracotomy. After the longer incision is made, the ribs are spread apart so the surgeon can see into the chest cavity to remove the tumor. There are more complications, more bleeding and more time on the ventilator with this older method.

Benefits of VATS

Patient outcomes are just as good as with the older, more invasive method, but with VATS patients benefit from:

  • Less pain after surgery due to smaller incisions
  • A better chance of breathing normally
  • A shorter hospital stay (three or four days)
  • Faster recovery time
  • Quicker return to daily activities

More information about the VATS Procedure.

If you are at high risk, please call 402-717-LUNG to schedule a screening.