When medication and catheter-based treatments cannot relieve symptoms, surgery remains the accepted treatment for a range of cardiothoracic conditions, including but not limited to mitral valve prolapse, atrial septal defect and coronary artery disease.
Facing either traditional cardiac surgery or open surgery to treat disorders of the organs and tissues in the chest cavity can be a frightening experience. While it may be difficult to focus on next steps, in fact, you may have several choices to make, including which hospital and which surgeon to go to, and which procedure to choose. Learning as much as possible about your surgical options, including minimally invasive alternatives to traditional open surgery may ease some of your concerns.
While surgery is generally the most effective way to treat disorders of the heart, lungs and esophagus, traditional open surgery has a number of inherent drawbacks caused primarily by making a large incision, splitting of the breastbone and spreading the ribs to access the thoracic space. In addition to an 8 to 10” scar down the center of your chest, splitting of the breastbone leads to a lengthy recovery time of eight to twelve weeks as well as a prolonged delay before you will return to normal daily activities.
Fortunately, less invasive options are increasingly available for patients facing cardiothoracic surgery. Many cardiothoracic surgeons are recognizing the benefits of smaller incisions made between the ribs to perform coronary bypass or make repairs to the heart or esophagus under visualization using thoracoscopy – the insertion of a miniaturized video camera between the ribs. But this approach has limitations and is not well suited to more complex cardiac procedures.
Enter the da Vinci® Surgical System, providing surgeons and patients with what may be the most effective, least invasive treatment alternative for even the most complex cardiothoracic procedures such as mitral valve repair. Among the benefits of da Vinci® cardiothoracic surgery are a reduced risk of infection, less blood loss and need for blood transfusions, shorter hospital stay, less pain and scarring, faster recovery and a quicker return to normal activities. Additionally, surgery with the da Vinci Surgical System offers the potential for a better clinical outcome.