Minimally Invasive Heart Surgery
Avoid the Trauma of Separating the Breastbone
Standard open-heart cardiac surgery requires median sternotomy (separating the breastbone),to access the heart. Surgeons usually make a 10-12 inch vertical incision to expose the central breastbone (sternum), then saw or “crack” the breastbone apart in order to connect the heart to the heart-lung machine and perform the operation. Although standard open-heart surgery achieves excellent outcomes, sternotomy is recognized as one of the most traumatic aspects of cardiac surgery, significantly affecting operative morbidity, and recovery time and complication risks.
Minimally invasive cardiac surgery employs standard repair and replacement techniques, but accesses the heart through small 3-4” chest incisions, thus avoiding the trauma associated with sternotomy. The technique uses a three- to four-inch incision, a small pair of elongated catheters can be inserted through the opening to link the patient’s heart to the heart lung machine, and surgeons can perform the procedure under direct vision. When performed by experts, minimally invasive cardiac surgery provides outcomes that are equal or superior to traditional open surgery with significant added benefits, including fewer complications, less bleeding,fewer transfusions, fewer infections, shorter hospitalizations and reduced hospital costs. Patients typically experience less post-operative pain, faster recovery, speedier return to normal activities, and improved cosmetic appearance.