Minimally invasive surgical interventions use specialized equipment that allows for smaller incisions compared to regular surgery. This often means less blood loss, less pain and less scarring; it may also lead to a shorter hospital stay and faster recovery, with reduced chance of infection. Such procedures are especially helpful for patients whose poor health makes traditional open heart surgery—which involves dividing the sternum (breastbone)—risky. Temple offers different minimally invasive approaches depending on the procedure being performed and the patient’s preference and medical condition. Below are a few of the available options.
- Mini-sternotomy means cutting open only a portion of the breastbone (4 to 5 inches), then inserting specialized tools and computer equipment to see inside and perform the needed repairs to the heart.
- Mini-thoracotomy involves making a single cut (usually 3 to 4 inches) in between two ribs, through which surgical instruments are guided. Unlike a mini-sternotomy, no bones are cut in this procedure.
- Endovascular—also known as percutaneous—procedures are considered “non-surgical” and are done through small puncture sites, often via catheter—a thin tube inserted through the skin and guided through the blood vessels to the site of the problem. Endovascular interventions are sometimes an option for conducting heart procedures (such as valve repair) on patients who are not candidates for surgical approaches. Learn more about percutaneous interventions offered at Temple.
Our surgeons elect minimally invasive procedures whenever possible, and are highly experienced at performing them. They understand the complexities and rigors of heart surgery and help patients understand the risks and benefits of any heart procedure. Our extensive cardiac catheterization and hybrid surgical facilities allow us to offer options for at-risk patients who may not be able to receive needed procedures elsewhere.