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The benefits of minimally invasive surgery include:
Most patients also have:
Minimally invasive heart surgery (also called keyhole surgery) is when a conventional operation is performed on or inside the heart using small incisions. The surgeon also sometimes uses specialized instruments.
There are many ways to reach the heart for surgery. Surgeons at Cleveland Clinic always try to use the smallest incision to provide the safest and most successful surgery. Your surgical team will carefully compare the advantages and disadvantages of minimally invasive techniques with those of traditional surgery 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; and results of tests done before surgery.
Traditional heart surgery
Traditional heart surgery uses an incision through the middle of your chest, through the breastbone. The incision is about 6 to 8 inches long.
This is the safest and most commonly used incision for patients who need complicated heart surgeries, reoperations, multiple coronary artery bypass procedures or complex aorta procedures.
Cleveland Clinic surgeons have performed minimally invasive heart surgery since the mid 1990s. The first surgeries of this type were mitral and aortic valve surgeries. Now, a wide range of procedures can be done using minimally invasive techniques to help make recovery faster and more comfortable.
Sometimes, minimally invasive surgery includes a partial sternotomy. This involves cutting through part of the breastbone. When possible, the surgeon can avoid cutting the breastbone and, instead, make one or more small incisions through the muscles between the ribs. This technique is called a mini-thoracotomy.
A 3- to 4-inch long incision is made through the sternum, and the breastbone is separated in that area so the surgeon can see the part of the heart that needs surgery.
The surgeon avoids cutting through the breastbone and, instead, cuts into muscles between the ribs to reach the heart.
Used for mitral valve, tricuspid valve, ASD, PFO, myxoma surgeries
Used for aortic, transaortic TAVR and transaortic TEVAR surgeries
Used for minimally invasive direct coronary artery bypass (MIDCAB), transapical TAVR, transapical TEVAR and epicardial lead placement surgeries
Most types of robotically assisted heart surgery are used to treat patients with mitral regurgitation (leaky mitral valve).
Robotically assisted heart surgery can be used for:
Robotically assisted heart surgery is performed through a small working incision and three other small incisions (ports) that are made in the spaces between the ribs. The surgical instruments are attached to the robotic arms. The instruments and a tiny camera are placed through the ports. Motion sensors are attached to the robotic wrist, so the surgeon can control the instruments.
Used for mitral valve, tricuspid valve, mitral and maze, ASD, PFO, atrial myxoma and fibroblastoma surgeries
Robotically assisted mitral valve surgery is performed using only the small port incisions.
Coronary artery bypass surgery may be done using a minimally invasive incision in the space between the ribs as well as the ports. Depending on the technique the surgeon uses, the procedure may be performed on a beating heart. This means the heart-lung bypass machine is not used. This is called off-pump surgery.
If you have minimally invasive or robotic surgery, you will probably be able to go home 2 to 5 days after surgery. Your healthcare team will follow you closely while you are in the hospital and help you recover as quickly as possible.
When you are ready to leave the hospital, you will get instructions on your recovery and return to work, including guidelines for activity, driving, incision care and diet.
In general, it takes about 1 to 4 weeks before you will feel well enough to return to work (if your job doesn't involve physical activity), resume driving and take part in most nonstrenuous activities, so long as you have stopped taking pain medications. You can usually get entirely back to your normal routine in 5 to 8 weeks after surgery. It is important to know that everyone has a different recovery and your healthcare team will give you guidelines based on how well you are doing.
To keep your heart healthy after surgery, it is important to make lifestyle changes and take your medications as prescribed.
Heart-healthy lifestyle changes that are important to your recovery include:
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This information is provided by Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi, part of Mubadala Healthcare, and is not intended to replace the medical advice of your doctor or health care provider. Please consult your health care provider for advice about a specific medical condition.