Standard heart surgery typically requires exposure of the heart and its vessels through median sternotomy (dividing the breastbone), a procedure that is considered one of the most invasive and traumatic aspects of open-chest surgery.
A minimally invasive approach to heart surgery allows access to the heart through small incisions, without separating the breastbone (sternum) and ribcage, stopping the heart, or requiring the use of a heart-lung machine.
Many cardiothoracic surgeons now recognize the benefits of small incisions made between the ribs to perform coronary bypass or make repairs to the heart or esophagus by using thoracoscopy – the insertion of a miniaturized video camera between the ribs. The incision used in minimally invasive cardiac surgery may be about 2 to 4 inches, made between the ribs, instead of the 6- to 8-inch incision through the sternum required for traditional surgery.
Because it relies on traditional minimally invasive surgical technology, this approach has limitations and is not often appropriate for more complex cardiac surgical procedures.
The least invasive approach to cardiac surgery, the “keyhole” approach or port-access technique used in robotically assisted surgery using the advanced da Vinci® Surgical System, is available for some types of cardiac and thoracic procedures like mitral valve repair and coronary artery bypass.
The potential benefits of all types of minimally invasive heart surgery may include:
Other possible benefits of minimally invasive heart surgery may include:
Robotic heart surgery is available for common cardiothoracic conditions including:
The Department of Surgery at the The University of Arizona Medical Center is the only institution in Arizona — and one of only a handful in the nation — to offer minimally invasive, robot-assisted heart bypass surgery along with hybrid techniques to treat multi-vessel coronary artery disease. By combining both approaches, the less invasive robotic heart surgery can be used on patients who would otherwise have required traditional open chest surgery.
The surgeons and cardiac team at the Department of Surgery are pioneers in the safe and effective use of robotics and hybrid technology to perform minimally invasive, heart surgical procedures. We are also experts at traditional and non-surgical treatments that might be more appropriate for a particular patient. This breadth of experience allows us to provide the broadest range of options, thereby ensuring the best combination of treatments for each patient’s individual needs.
The Department of Surgery at The University of Arizona Medical Center performs many innovative and advanced procedures in addition to more traditional approaches. This translates into a greater ability to keep our patients well informed about the most current best practice options compared to other centers that do not provide an equal range of treatments. As a result, our patients are able to make knowledgeable decisions about critical health care topics based on their health needs, lifestyles and personal preferences.
For the best cardiothoracic surgical care in Tucson, Southern Arizona or the Southwest, make an appointment by calling (520) 626-6339 (Tucson).