Minimally Invasive Cardiac Surgery

What is minimally invasive cardiac surgery?

Minimally invasive cardiac surgery uses small chest incisions and laparoscopic instruments to gain access to the heart. In contrast, traditional heart surgeries use a large cut in the chest to split the breast bone (also known as a sternotomy) and gain access to the heart.

As heart surgery techniques and technology improve over time, more conditions may be treated through minimally invasive surgery or keyhole surgery. This technique can help to reduce pain and scarring while maintaining safety and efficacy.

What are the minimally invasive cardiac procedural treatments available at our hospitals?

Examples of minimally invasive cardiac surgery include:

  • Minimally invasive mitral valve repair, which can relieve symptoms of mitral regurgitation and prevent hospitalisation for heart failure, can be done through a small sternotomy or anterior thoracotomy
  • Minimally invasive aortic valve replacement, which treats aortic valve disease, restores normal blood flow, reduces symptoms and preserves the function of your heart muscle.
  • Transcatheter aortic valve implantation (TAVI), which uses a catheter to implant an aortic valve in patients with severe aortic stenosis.
  • Coronary artery bypass surgery (MIDCAB), which can be a hybrid procedure combined with stents. This surgical procedure bypasses blocked heart arteries to restore normal blood flow to the heart muscle.

Compared to open heart surgery, the benefits of MICS include:

  • Faster recovery
  • Less pain and scarring
  • Reduced physical and psychological trauma
  • Ability to resume most of your usual activities more quickly (usually within 2 – 4 weeks)
  • Earlier discharge from the hospital (usually in 3 – 4 days)

Who should not undergo minimally invasive cardiac surgery?

Not everyone is a suitable candidate for minimally invasive heart surgery. In general, minimally invasive cardiac surgery is not advised for those who have had heart surgery before.

To determine whether you are a candidate for minimally invasive heart surgery, your doctor is likely to:

  • Review your medical history
  • Conduct a physical examination
  • Perform tests (such as imaging tests, laboratory tests, pulmonary function tests and cardiac evaluation)

Your doctor and treatment team will work with you to determine the best option to treat your condition.

What are the risks and complications of minimally invasive cardiac surgery?

Minimally invasive heart surgery has the same risks as open-heart surgery. These risks include:

If your surgeon thinks it is not safe to continue with the minimally invasive heart surgery approach, your procedure may need to be changed to open-heart surgery.

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