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Keywords:

  • cardiac disease;
  • hyperhidrosis;
  • lung biopsy;
  • lung cancer;
  • mediastinal tumour;
  • oesophageal disease;
  • pneumothorax;
  • pulmonary nodule;
  • thoracoscopy;
  • VATS

Since Jacobaeus performed the first thoracoscopy to explore pleural space and mechanically broke pleural adhesions to facilitate the collapse therapy for pulmonary tuberculosis in 1910, numerous thoracic surgeons have been attempting this technique as a means of accomplishing many intrathoracic procedures previously done through open thoracotomy. As the refinement of video technology has advanced, thoracoscopic surgery has played a very important role in thoracic surgery especially since the early 1990s. Because the advantages of video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery for patients include low post-thoracotomy-related morbidity, cosmetic considerations, low pain, earlier post-operative mobilization, and a shorter operation time in some indications, surgeons have been demonstrating its increasing utility in the diagnosis and treatment of the pleura, lung, mediastinum, great vessels, pericardium, and oesophagus. The most common application of the thoracoscopic approach still remains in the management of pleuropulmonary disease. The indications for the thoracoscopic technique are very broad, but its role in the management of primary lung and oesophageal cancer has yet to be confirmed. Thus, the surgeon who uses the technique in these cancerous diseases should be prudent. In conclusion, these thoracoscopic procedures will play more important roles in the practice of thoracic surgery in the future.