Thoracoscopy is a procedure that allows your physician to view the chest interior and lungs without the need for a major incision. Contrary to a thoracotomy, where the chest structures are accessed via a large cut in the chest wall, a thoracoscopy requires only a small incision through which a thin, tube-like instrument called an endoscope can be inserted. The endoscope has a fiber optic camera and light at the end and can facilitate the use of other surgical instruments that are introduced via additional small incisions for purposes of obtaining a tissue sample, clearing accumulated fluids from around the lungs, or administering medications and other treatments. The procedure is usually performed in a hospital setting with the patient under general anesthesia. At the conclusion of the operation, a chest tube remains in place to allow fluid to drain and air to be released from the chest cavity. Patients will need to stay in the hospital for between two and five days.