Video-Assisted Thoracoscopic Surgery Lobectomy

Why VATS Lobectomy?

VATS Lobectomy is a procedure using high-definition camera technology to remove part of the lung through small access points between the ribs.  

The right and left lung are located in the chest on each side of the heart. The right lung has three lobes and the left lung has two lobes. The lungs are surrounded by a membrane.

Lung surgery may be required for various reasons. It is usually (suspected) lung cancer, which is the leading cause of death by cancer in Belgium. Another reason is metastasis in the lung of a malignant process already present elsewhere in the body or a persistent inflammatory process or benign disorder. Surgical removal of a lung tumour offers the best chances of survival at an early stage. The classic technique to remove a tumour is to perform a thoracotomy. This is an extensive incision between the ribs on the side of the chest to reach the lung.

In the early stages, our department can also perform the procedure in a minimally invasive way using the Video-Assisted Thoracoscopic Surgery (VATS) technique for the lobectomy.

VATS lobectomy is less invasive than traditional thoracotomy, but allows the same amount of lung to be removed. Three small 1-cm incisions are made. A thoracoscope is inserted through one of the holes and the instruments are inserted through the other ports. The high-definition images are shown on a TV screen. The images allow the surgeon to see the lung and other structures in the chest up close. The affected lobe can be removed together with the lymph nodes in and next to the lung. Once the lobe has been removed, the incisions are closed and one or two tubes (chest drains) are left to drain excess moisture and air. These chest drains are removed a few days after the surgery.

Who is a candidate for VATS Lobectomy?

Patients with lung cancer in an early stage, i.e. with small tumours that have not spread beyond the lung, are good candidates for this technique.

For patients with large, centrally located tumours that have affected the large airways or lymph nodes in the middle of the chest and patients who have undergone previous chest surgery, a traditional thoracotomy is often the better method. The VATS technique can also be used for certain benign lesions or metastatic lung lesions.

Benefits of VATS Lobectomy

Less invasive than traditional thoracotomy:

  • Only 2 small incisions of 2-to-3-cm and 1-of-4-to-8-cm
  • Ribs are not spread
  • Less pain
  • Faster recovery
  • Lower risk of infection and blood loss


Patients undergoing VATS lobectomy or segmentectomy have less pain and recover faster compared with the group of patients undergoing conventional thoracotomy. There is also a lower risk of infection and bleeding.

The literature has shown that this technique can be used with few complications. The hospital stay is shorter and the long-term results are at least the same or better.

Opname bij een hartoperatie

Nu u van uw arts vernomen heeft dat een hartoperatie voor u de beste behandeling is, zullen er bij u ongetwijfeld een aantal vragen de kop op steken. De brochure die we hiervoor voorzien is niet alleen bedoeld als informatiebron voor u, die een behandeling aan het hart moet ondergaan, maar ook voor uw familie.

In deze informatiebrochure proberen we u antwoorden te geven op uw belangrijkste vragen. U kan deze brochure ook gebruiken als leidraad tijdens uw verblijf op de afdelingen intensieve zorgen en de hospitalisatieafdeling.

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Ontslag na een hartoperatie

Ook na je ontslag zit je beslist met allerhande vragen die we beantwoorden in de brochure 'Ontslag na een hartoperatie'. Deze informatiebrochure volgt op de brochure ‘Opname bij een hartingeep’. De eerste brochure ging vooral over pathologie, de preoperatieve voorbereiding, en het verblijf op de intensieve zorgenafdeling,…

Deze brochure richt zich op het verblijf in het ziekenhuis na een hartingreep, de revalidatie en het verder postoperatief verloop na ontslag uit het ziekenhuis. 

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