Medical thoracoscopy/pleuroscopy is used increasingly by chest physicians and has become, after bronchoscopy, the second most important endoscopic technique in respiratory medicine. It is considered to be one of the main areas of interventional pulmonology/pneumology and an important part of a specialist pleural disease service.Compared with “surgical” thoracoscopy, which is better termed “video-assisted thoracic surgery” (VATS) and is performed in an operating room under general anaesthesia with selective intubation, medical thoracoscopy/pleuroscopy can be performed in an endoscopy suite under local anaesthesia or conscious sedation, using non-disposable rigid or semi-flexible (semi-rigid) instruments. Thus, medical thoracoscopy/pleuroscopy is considerably less invasive and less expensive.
As with all technical procedures, there is a learning curve before full competence in medical thoracoscopy/pleuroscopy is achieved. Therefore, appropriate training is mandatory. The technique is very similar to chest-tube insertion by means of a trocar; the difference being that, in addition, the pleural cavity can be visualised, and biopsies can be taken from all areas of the pleural cavity including the chest wall, diaphragm, mediastinum and lung.
We have an annual thoracoscopy workshop. The last workshop happened in 2019. The didactic lectures are followed by hands-on session, wherein the participants get a chance to do Thoracoscopy on goat carcass, simulating the OT environments. They not only learn how to handle the camera and telescope, but also to do pleural biopsy, lung biopsy, and pleurodesis.These workshops are dedicated to revolutionizing patient care through the development of endoscopic intervention for chest diseases, which is emerging from the development of new endovision equipment along with hand instruments. This will enable surgeons and pulmonologists to offer less invasive diagnostic and therapeutic options for a variety of thoracic disorders. This will enable surgeons and pulmonologists to offer less invasive diagnostic and therapeutic options for a variety of thoracic disorders.