Video-Assisted Thoracoscopic Surgery in Hollywood

VATS Performed at the California Heart & Lung Surgery Center

Regardless of your diagnosis, it is highly recommended to undergo a series of precise tests and examination procedures in order to have your condition properly and accurately evaluated. Consequently, here at our Los Angeles locations we will be able to determine whether you are eligible for VATS or guide you towards another treatment option if your case does not meet the requirements. Dr. Alexander Marmureanu may order two or more of the following tests prior to suggesting VATS, depending on your diagnosis:

  • chest X-rays
  • blood tests
  • thoracentesis
  • electrocardiogram (EKG)
  • CT scan & a biopsy

If you do qualify for VATS, the date of your surgery will subsequently be chosen and you will be thoroughly instructed on how to prepare for the intervention. On the day of your surgery, you will first be put under general anesthesia by the team at the California Heart & Lung Surgery Center after we make sure you do not have a history of allergies to certain drugs. A breathing tube will then be attached to your airways to maintain the proper functioning of your lungs and two small incisions will be made by surgeon Alexander Marmureanu in your chest region: one between your ribs, through which a fiber optic camera equipped with a powerful light will be inserted, and another in the same area, through which the appropriate medical instruments will be introduced.

Unlike traditional thoracoscopic surgery, which involves a significantly larger incision across the middle of your chest bone and the spreading of your ribs, this minimally invasive procedure entails considerably lower risks and a faster recovery. After the specific issue is carefully attended to, your incisions will be closed with sutures (stitches) and a sterile dressing will be applied over them to avoid infection. The entire duration of your surgery will vary between one and two hours, depending on your condition.

Our Locations in Los Angeles

Cedars Sinai Marina Campus

4650 Lincoln Blvd, Marina Del Rey, CA 90292

St. Vincent Medical Center

2131 W 3rd St, Los Angeles, CA 90057

Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center

1300 N Vermont Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90027

Centinela Freeman Regional Medical Center

555 E Hardy St, Inglewood, CA 90301

Olympia Medical Center

5900 W Olympic Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90036

Providence Saint John's Health Center

2121 Santa Monica Blvd, Santa Monica, CA 90401


Who Needs VATS

Although not all patients suffering from thoracic conditions can successfully undergo video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery, this procedure can efficiently diagnose and treat numerous affections with minimal postoperative risks. Thus, some of the most common conditions which can be diagnosed by VATS are:

  • pleural effusion
  • lung cancer
  • pleural mesothelioma
  • pericardial mesothelioma

VATS has proved to be particularly beneficial for the California Heart & Lung Surgery patients whose condition requires one of the following therapeutic interventions:

  • lung volume reduction
  • pericardial window
  • drainage of excess fluid around the lungs or heart (effusion)
  • lung resection
  • spinal surgery
  • thoracodorsal sympathectomy
  • the removal of malignant tumors occurring in the chest cavity (lung cancer, pleural or pericardial mesothelioma, etc.)
  • thymectomy (the removal of the thymus gland)
  • gastroesophageal reflux disease surgery
  • hiatal hernia repair
  • bullectomy
  • esophagectomy (surgery involving the esophagus)
  • hyperhidrosis surgery (aimed at alleviating excessive sweating)
  • bleb resection
  • pleurodesis

However, there are certain criteria which disqualify a patient for undergoing video-assisted surgery, including:

  • pleural symphysis
  • the existence of a large, inoperable malignant tumor (T3)
  • N2 disease
  • inability to tolerate single lung ventilation, which is required by this procedure

What to Expect After VATS

Following the completion of the intervention, you will be moved to the intensive care unit, where your vital signs will be regularly monitored by medical professionals for several hours to a day.

Considering that video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery is a minimally invasive diagnostic/treatment procedure, the hospitalization time is typically very short. Therefore, you will be discharged from the hospital within one to three days. You will be intubated throughout your hospital stay.

As the effect of the anesthetic wears off, you will notice some or all of the following tubes attached to your body:

  • an oxygen mask, which you will only have to wear for several hours after the surgery
  • an IV line in your arm, through which you will receive fluids and medication
  • one or two catheters (thin, flexible tubes) inserted in your chest through the incisions to drain excessive fluid
  • a urinary catheter attached to your bladder to collect urine until you can use the restroom on your own

During hospitalization, you will also be administered pain relievers to alleviate your discomfort, which is generally mild after VATS, as well as antibiotics to prevent postoperative infections. Complete recovery is generally achieved within a month, depending on the complexity of your initial condition and how fast you heal.

The advantages of VATS preponderantly refer to the patient’s recovery and include notable benefits such as:

  • a faster recovery period
  • a shorter hospitalization time
  • reduced risk of postoperative complications such as bleeding or infections
  • the ability to resume your daily activities shortly after the intervention

Nevertheless, in order to speed up your recovery process, you will be advised to take into consideration a series of important aspects. Your physician will thus recommend some of the following prior to your discharge from the hospital:

  • get a lot of rest within the first weeks after your surgery, as you will feel more tired than usual until you fully recover
  • take your medication regularly for as long as your doctor suggested to promote a successful recovery and avoid complications
  • maintain a healthy diet rich in fresh fruits, vegetables, and whole grains and limit your intake of foods containing cholesterol, saturated fats, sugar and salt
  • stay physically active by exercising or engaging in sports on a regular basis (however, you should always discuss with your physician what activities you can safely perform after the surgery)
  • quit smoking or at least limit its frequency to prevent further damage to your lungs