Minimally invasive heart valve surgery may be an option for patients who are considering an aortic or mitral valve repair or replacement.
Compared to the traditional open heart procedure (6 -8 inch incision), minimally invasive surgery is performed through a small incision (2-4 inch incision) placed in the upper part of the chest. Besides the smaller incision, true minimally invasive valve surgery has many advantages:
- The breastbone/sternum is not affected because the approach avoids the breastbone altogether with a small incision between the ribs.
- Small incision – Resulting in small scars.
- Lower risk of blood loss and blood transfusion – The chest wall is not opened, there is less blood that comes from the chest, causing less trauma to the body.
- Lower risk of infection – Due to smaller incision and because the breastbone is not affected.
- Less pain – Due to a smaller incision and less trauma to the chest.
- Shorter hospital stays – National studies have shown that patients stay in the hospital for less time after minimally invasive heart valve surgery.
- Shorter recovery time and return to mobility and daily activities of living – This approach does not involve cutting the ribs or the breast bone.
Less pain and shorter recovery time is a benefit for everyone. Factors including age, health history, type and severity of valve problem and overall health will factor into whether or not you are a candidate for minimally invasive valve surgery. Talk to your heart surgeon if you have questions about minimally invasive heart valve surgery.