Thoracoscopy is a special endoscopic procedure to check the pleural cavity. Now what is the pleural cavity?

The pleural cavity is a space around the lungs which normally contains only a thin layer of fluid. This fluid is formed locally and is helpful for lubrication and other functions of the lungs.


One of the most common lung disorders is the accumulation of excess fluid in the pleural cavity or pleural effusion.  In this disease excess fluid starts forming in the pleural space, which can not be drained away. This can cause certain problems such as breathlessness, chest pain, fever and heaviness in the chest. Some of the common diseases which are associated with the development of pleural effusions include pneumonia, tuberculosis, lung cancer, etc.


The examination of the pleural cavity is done by means of chest X-rays and CT scans. However, in certain cases these investigations are not sufficient; thoracoscopy is needed in such situations. The thoracoscope is a specialized endoscope for examining and taking tissue samples from the pleural cavity. The procedure is done under anaesthesia.


  1. Patient is evaluated in the OPD and preliminary investigations are advised. A date is fixed for the thoracoscopy.
  2. A pre -anaesthetic checkup is advised so that the attending anaesthetist can assess the patient before the procedure.
  3. The patient is advised to remain fasting overnight before the procedure.
  4. On the day of the procedure the patient is admitted.
  5. Pre procedure mild injections are given and the patient is taken in to the operation theatre.
  6. Anesthesia is administered to the patient to make him/her comfortable.
  7. The pleural cavity is entered through a surgical incision and the thoracoscope is used to inspect the pleural cavity. Any abnormal findings are noted and pieces taken if required. Any other necessary procedures are also done.
  8. After the procedure is finished, a chest tube connected with  drain bag is placed in the pleural cavity and fixed with sutures. This is for any remaining fluid in the cavity and is commonly removed the next day.
  9. The procedure takes about 30 -45 minutes.
  10. After the thoracoscopy, the patient is given IV fluids. The patient is discharged the next day after removing the tube.