Medical Thoracoscopy

What is LAVAT?

Medical thoracoscopy, or local anaesthetic video assisted thoracoscopy (LAVAT) is a day procedure, performed in the hospital, to allow further assessment of pleural fluid collections and pleural diseases.


  • LAVAT has similar indications to Video Assisted Thoracoscopic Surgery (VATS), however, it is less invasive, with fewer incisions and less requirement for anaesthetic.
  • It allows:
  • visualisation of the pleural lining,
  • safe drainage of large volumes of pleural fluid (with a lesser risk of re-expansion pulmonary oedema),
  • lysis of simple adhesions, and performance of guided pleural tissue biopsies
  • the insertion of intra-pleural talc, to enable pleurodesis, with the intent of preventing further re-accumulations of pleural fluid

Who is right for LAVAT?

It is often considered in patients for whom ultrasound guided fluid aspirations have failed to reveal a likely diagnosis. It is not appropriate for patients in whom more invasive surgery is required.

What is Involved?

  • LAVAT is often performed under conscious sedation.
  • Admission to hospital may be required depending upon whether a pleurodesis is performed, or complications (which are rare) occur.

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Any surgical or invasive procedure carries risks. Before proceeding, you should seek a second opinion from an appropriately qualified health practitioner.