A thoracoscopy lets the doctor look at the pleura and area around the lungs using a thin tube called a thoracoscope.

If you have been diagnosed with cancer in the lung or airways, you may have a thoracoscopy to find out:

  • more about size and position of the cancer
  • if it has spread outside the lung.

A thoracoscopy lets the doctor look at the pleura and the area around the lungs. They usually do it under a general anaesthetic, but some people may have it under a local anaesthetic.

The doctor makes one or two small cuts in your chest. Then they pass a thin tube called a thoracoscope through the cuts into your chest. They take a small sample (a biopsy) of the pleura. They can also remove any fluid that may have collected there. Sometimes doctors use a video camera attached to the tube, so they can see the area more clearly. This is called video-assisted thoracoscopy.