What are the advantages of performing the surgery utilizing VAT in comparison with traditional thoracotomy?
VAT entails small incisions, compared with a much larger thoracotomy incision. Surgery via thoracotomy incision also requires cutting across chest wall muscles. The ribs are usually spread apart, allowing access to the thoracic cavity. In some thoracotomy cases, however, it is necessary to resect a rib to achieve adequate access. This is sutured back together prior to chest closure.
VAT is followed by less pain and respiratory impairment than open thoracotomy. Therefore, patients are discharged home earlier following VAT surgery. There is also a high incidence of dysrhythmias following thoracic surgery, which may be partially related to postoperative pain. The use of epidural analgesia is very effective for postoperative pain treatment, and may lead to a lower incidence of dysrhythmias.