What is minimally invasive heart surgery?

Minimally invasive heart surgery (also called keyhole surgery) is performed through small incisions, sometimes using specialized surgical instruments. The incision used for minimally invasive heart surgery is about 3 to 4 inches instead of the 6- to 8-inch incision required for traditional surgery.

Who Is a Candidate for Minimally Invasive?

Your surgeon will review the results of your diagnostic tests before your scheduled surgery to determine if you are a candidate for a minimally invasive or robotic surgery technique. The surgical team will carefully compare the advantages and disadvantages of these techniques with those of traditional surgery.

Dr. Raman, Heart Surgeon

What are the Benefits?

Shorter recovery time and faster return to normal activities/work: The average recovery time after minimally invasive surgery is 1 to 4 weeks, while the average recovery time after traditional heart surgery is 6 to 8 weeks.

A Swimmer's Heart

Heart2Heart with Dr. Raman

What Questions Should I Ask My Heart Surgeon?

So, as consumers (patients, referring physicians, etc), these are the questions you have to ask of the surgeon/surgical team.

  1. How many of these procedures have you done?
  2. How long have been doing them?
  3. What alternative procedures exist if the minimally invasive procedure fails?
  4. Is the team comfortable performing these procedures?
  5. What measures are used for pain relief?
  6. When are these approaches not suitable in your particular circumstance?
  7. How often will the patient be seen by an attending physician or a doctor?
  8. What are the mechanisms of follow up?