Minimally Invasive Heart Surgery

1 What is a Minimally Invasive Heart Surgery?

The cardiac surgeon performs heart surgery through small cuts on the right side of your chest in minimally invasive heart surgery and this is also an alternative to open heart surgery.

Surgeons will not split the breastbone and operate between the ribs leading to less pain and a quicker recovery for most people.

In minimally invasive surgery, your heart surgeon has a better view of some parts of your heart than in open heart surgery.

In this procedure, your heart will stop temporarily and your blood will be diverted from your heart using a heart-lung machine.

They might perform this along with:

  • Atrial septal defect closure including patent foramen ovale
  • Aortic valve surgery
  • Heart valve surgery  to treat heart valve disease
  • Atrioventricular canal defect also is known as atrioventricular septal defect surgery
  • Mitral valve surgery
  • Maze heart surgery to treat atrial fibrillation
  • Tricuspid valve surgery
  • Saphenous vein harvests or removing a vein from your leg for coronary bypass surgery

You are not a candidate for minimally invasive heart surgery if you've had prior heart surgery or heart disease. Your doctor will work with you to determine whether minimally invasive heart surgery is an option.

To determine whether you're a candidate for minimally invasive heart surgery, he will review your medical history and also may perform tests. This may have advantages but it is not for everyone.

The advantages are:

  • Lower risk of infection
  • Less blood loss
  • Shorter time in the hospital with faster recovery
  • Reduced pain and trauma
  • Smaller and less noticeable scars

The risks of complications from minimally invasive heart surgery include:

  • Stroke
  • Wound infection
  • Bleeding

The types of minimally invasive heart surgery include:

  • Robot-assisted heart surgery – the surgeons will use robotic arms rather than their own hands and this is a traditional open chest operation. Your surgeon works at a remote console and views your heart in a magnified high-definition 3-D view on a video monitor during this procedure. His hand surgeon's hand movements are translated precisely to the robotic arms at the operating table that moves similarly to the human wrist from the remote console. A second surgeon will assist at the operating table, changing surgical instruments attached to the robotic arms.
  • Thoracoscopic surgery – also known as mini- thoracotomy and this is done by inserting a thorascope containing a tiny high-definition video camera into a small incision in your chest so your surgeon can repair your heart. Doctors and surgeons will determine whether a conventional open operation or minimally invasive operation is best for you after reviewing your clinical records and performing a physical examination.

2 Reasons for Procedure

Here are the most common reasons to undergo minimally invasive heart surgery.

In deciding what type of heart surgery for you, doctors will try to use the smallest incision to provide the safest and most successful surgery.

They will compare and evaluate the benefits and disadvantages of minimally invasive techniques.

Your surgeon will decide the best approach for you based on several factors, including the type or heart disease you have and how severe it is:

  • Your age, medical history, and lifestyle.
  • Results of tests which is done before surgery.
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3 Potential Risks

Risks of complications are rare for minimally invasive heart surgery such as infection, bleeding and wound infection.

4 Preparing for your Procedure

In preparing for the minimally invasive heart surgery, your doctor may ask you not to eat or drink anything 8 hours before the surgery.

He may also ask you to stop taking any medications prior to the surgery.

5 What to Expect

Here you can find out what to expect from your minimally invasive heart surgery.

In some cases, minimally invasive heart surgery includes a partial sternotomy and this is done by cutting through part of the breastbone, long incision will be made through the sternum so that the breastbone will be separated so your surgeon will see the part of the heart that needs surgery.

In mini-thoracotomy, your surgeon will avoid cutting through your breastbone but rather make an incision into the muscles between the ribs so he can reach the heart.

Robotically assisted heart surgery is performed by making incisions between the ribs and the surgical instruments are attached to the robotic arms so your surgeon can control them.

6 Procedure Results

Understanding the results of your minimally invasive heart surgery will be made possible by your doctor.

The advantages of minimally invasive heart surgery include:

  • Less blood loss
  • Less pain
  • Small incisions
  • Small scars
  • Reduced post-operative discomfort
  • Lowered risk of infections
  • Lowered risk of blood transfusion
  • Shorter hospital stay
  • Faster healing times
  • Lowered risk of deep sternal wound infection
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