In thoracoscopy, a thin, flexible viewing tube (called a thoracoscope) is inserted through a small incision in the chest. Fiberoptic cables permit the surgeon to visually inspect the lungs, mediastinum (the area between the lungs), and pleura (the membrane covering the lungs and lining the chest cavity). In addition, surgical instruments may be inserted through other small incisions in the chest, to perform both diagnostic and therapeutic procedures. Purpose of the Thoracoscopy To visually inspect the lungs, pleura, or mediastinum for evidence of abnormalities To obtain tissue biopsies or fluid samples from the lungs, pleura, or mediastinum in order to diagnose infections, cancer, and other diseases Used therapeutically to remove excess fluid in the pleural cavity or pleural cysts, or to remove a portion of diseased lung tissue (wedge resection). To evaluate patients with pulmonary disease or abnormalities of the sac that surround the heart (pericardium) or the lining of the chest (pleura) To obtain a tissue sample (biopsy) for further evaluation and to diagnose inflammation, infection, fibrosis and cancer As a minimally-invasive method to perform certain types of surgery, such as pericardiectomy