FAQs About Minimally Invasive and Robotic Surgery

Who Is a Candidate for Minimally Invasive or Robotic Surgery?

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.

The type of treatment recommended for your condition depends on several factors, including the type and severity of heart disease, age, medical history and lifestyle.

What are the benefits of the Minimally Invasive Cardiac Surgery?

  • Small incisions
  • Small scars
  • Shorter hospital stay after surgery: The average stay is 3 to 5 days after minimally invasive surgery, while the average stay after traditional heart surgery is 7 to 10 days
  • Low risk of infection
  • Low risk of bleeding and blood transfusion
  • 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. The recovery time and return to regular activities is shorter for patients who undergo robotically assisted heart surgery.
  • Division of the breastbone is not needed for robotically assisted heart surgery.

What should I bring when I come for a scheduled consultation appointment?

Apart from medicare and your insurance information:

  • A referral from your Primary Care Physician or family doctor
  • All pertinent x-ray reports and test results from your primary care or referring physician (only if we are unable to acquire them beforehand. Call our offices for further inquiry)
  • A list of all medications that you are taking
  • A list of any known drug allergies and the symptoms you may have from taking these medicines

Are my medical records kept private and confidential?

Your medical file is handled with the utmost respect for your privacy. Our staff are bound by strict confidentiality requirements as a condition of employment regarding your medical records. Ordinarily we will not release the contents of your medical file without your consent.

Do I need a referral to make an appointment?

Most medical specialists will accept only referred patients. This is partly to try to ensure that the specialist you are seeing is appropriate for your condition, and also because Medicare pays higher rebates for specialist services if you have been referred

How can my family doctor help me to obtain specialist medical care?

Before seeing any medical specialist, it is always preferable to talk to your own family doctor, who can discuss your condition with you and advise on whether any specialist care is appropriate. If it is, he or she can help you to choose the specialist best suited to your needs. Your family doctor can help the specialist to care for you better by providing relevant information about your health. Communicating with the specialist will also enable your family doctor to care for you better during and after your specialist treatment.

What should I expect during my first visit?

During your initial visit, the doctor will explain the specific test or procedure you want, help you visualize the results and go over the risks. He may do a physical examination and ask you a bunch of questions. Once you go and have the test done then he will discuss your diagnosis and appropriate treatment.

If surgery is needed, what steps should I take prior to the operation?

There are a number of guidelines to follow in preparing for surgery:

  • Please shower at home twice before surgery, once the evening before and once on the morning of. Click here for further specific instructions
  • Please do not shave the surgical site! It will be done for you if necessary. Shaving yourself increases the risk of infection
  • If you are diabetic, please contact your primary physician for instructions regarding your insulin or oral medications
  • If you are currently taking aspirin, aspirin products, or non-steroidal medications, which includes Ascriptin, Aleve, Mortin or Advil; STOP taking these medications 5 days prior to your surgery
  • If you are currently taking Coumadin (Warfarin), Ticlid (Ticlopidine), or Plavix (Clopidogrel); STOP taking these medications 5 days prior to your surgery
  • For morning surgery: Do not eat or drink anything after midnight the night before surgery unless otherwise instructed. This includes coffee, tea, water, and juice
  • For afternoon surgery: A small breakfast BEFORE 7AM is OK, and nothing after that. Your surgery may be cancelled if you do not follow these instructions
  • Do Not drink alcoholic beverages 24 hours prior to your surgery
  • Do Not smoke for 4 weeks before surgery or your risk of serious complications increases
  • Do Not bring valuables such as money, jewelry, etc. Do Not wear makeup
  • Bring toiletries and loose fitting, comfortable clothing to wear upon discharge
  • Notify us if there is a change in your condition prior to surgery (such as a cold, cough, fever or infection). If severe, your surgery may need to be postponed for your safety
  • Stop all herbal medications 4 weeks before surgery unless discussed beforehand (especially Ginseng, Garlic, Gingko, or St. John’s Wort, which increases the risk of bleeding)

There are also a few important steps to take the day of your surgery:

  • On the day of your surgery, report to hospital reception
  • If you have not already done so, you will meet your anesthesiologist
  • After the operation, you will go directly to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) for 1-2 days, then admitted to a hospital room for further recovery if necessary
  • After discharge, and as long as you are taking prescription pain medicine, you are not permitted to:◦Drive a Car nor operate power equipment
    ◦Drink Alcoholic Beverages
    ◦Sign important papers
    ◦Instructions regarding safe resumption of the above activities will be provided by your surgeon
  • If you have questions, regarding any of the above instructions, please do not hesitate to contact our office