Minimally invasive heart surgery involves making small incisions in the right side of your chest to reach the heart between the ribs, rather than cutting through the breastbone, as is done in open-heart surgery.
Minimally invasive heart surgery can be performed to treat a variety of heart conditions. Compared with open-heart surgery, this type of surgery might mean less pain and a quicker recovery for many people.
Why it’s done
Many types of heart procedures may be conducted with minimally invasive heart surgery, including:
- Mitral valve repair or replacement
- Tricuspid valve repair or replacement
- Aortic valve replacement
- Atrial septal defect and patent foramen ovale closure
- Atrioventricular septal defect surgery
- Maze procedure for atrial fibrillation
- Coronary artery bypass surgery
- Saphenous vein harvest for coronary artery bypass surgery
Minimally invasive heart surgery isn’t an option for everyone. But for those who can have the surgery, the potential benefits when compared with open-heart surgery can include:
- Less blood loss
- Lower risk of infection
- Reduced trauma and pain
- Shorter time in the hospital, faster recovery and quicker return to normal activities
- Smaller, less noticeable scars
Who benefits from minimally invasive heart surgery
Not everyone is a candidate for minimally invasive heart surgery. Your doctor and treatment team will work with you to determine whether it’s an option to treat your condition.
To determine whether you’re a candidate for minimally invasive heart surgery, your doctor is likely to conduct a physical examination, review your medical history and perform tests.
Minimally invasive heart surgery is a complex surgical procedure that requires training and experience. You might be referred to a medical center with surgeons and a surgical team who have the needed expertise in conducting minimally invasive procedures.