So, as consumers (patients, referring physicians, etc), these are the questions you have to ask of the surgeon/surgical team.
Questions for My Heart Surgeon
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?
This figure shows a non-sternotomy Octopus stabilizer facilitating the anastomosis or suturing of a left internal mammary artery graft to the left anterior descending coronary artery.
Regardless of the approach, the fundamental nature of surgery has to be to ensure a durable, excellent method of providing fresh blood to the blocked arteries without harming the patient in any way. The quality of the cardiac procedure has to be at least as good as the traditional open procedure.
Make sure you have your list of questions for your heart surgeon before you go and meet them.