Performing intricate heart surgery procedures may be possible through minimally invasive surgery. In some cases, this may be achieved through robotic surgery. Tiny incisions may eliminate the need for open sternotomy – which requires a large incision and spreading of the ribs to access the heart. Today’s technology allows tiny incisions and precise instruments that can minimize recovery time and risks. Every patient and medical condition is unique, so the decision to perform either a minimally invasive or full open sternotomy will depend on each situation.
Benefits of minimally invasive heart surgery:
- Reduced risk of infection
- Less blood loss and need for blood transfusions
- Shorter hospital stay
- Less pain and scarring
- Faster recovery and return to normal activities
Types of minimally invasive heart surgery:
Upper sternotomy approach: The upper part of the sternum or chest area is surgically opened, keeping the lower portion intact. This provides all the benefits of minimally invasive surgery while providing adequate exposure to perform aortic valve and aortic aneurysm procedures.
Right chest approach: A small incision is made between the ribs to allow access to the heart. The surgery is performed under direct vision or using the DaVinci Robot.
Left chest approach: A small incision is made for certain operations on the mitral valve in special circumstances and more commonly for minimally invasive off-pump coronary artery bypass surgery.
Hybrid: In some cases, minimally invasive surgery addresses valvular or coronary problems while less critical lesions of the coronary arteries can be addressed using stents.