Cardiac surgeries are done for a wide range of ailments related to the heart. The advancements in medical science have immensely benefitted patients in many ways. One such benefit is minimally invasive cardiac surgeries.
Minimally invasive cardiac surgeries – the name itself is self-explanatory – are done using minute incisions. But to understand the procedure well, we need to pair it with open-heart surgery. In an open-heart surgery, the breastbone is cut. It means the incision is quite big. For a long time, open-heart surgery was the only option for patients with severe cardiac ailments. The advent of minimally invasive cardiac surgery changed it completely.
Minimally invasive cardiac surgery
In this type of surgery, small incisions are made on the right side of the chest. This way, it is easy for the surgeons to reach the heart through the ribs.
Unlike open-heart surgery, minimally invasive cardiac surgery is less painful and the recovery is shorter. In addition to this, there are other crucial benefits as well. Some of these are as follows:
- Less blood loss
- Decreased chances of infection
- Reduced trauma and pain
- With shorter hospital stay and faster recovery, individuals are able to return to their normal life. In other words, their life doesn’t get interrupted in a big way.
- While an open-heart surgery leaves big scars, a minimally invasive one will have smaller or barely noticeable scars.
Minimally invasive heart surgery – who benefits?
Minimally invasive heart surgeries are not for everyone. It’s up to the doctor to decide whether an individual should be referred for a minimally invasive surgery or an open-heart one. The decision is made after scrutinizing a wide range of factors – such as patient’s health, for what condition they are being operated upon, their history of health, etc. What needs to be taken into consideration is that minimally invasive heart surgeries are quite complex. It takes experts trained in the procedure to successfully complete a minimally invasive cardiac surgery.
Conditions for which minimally invasive heart surgery is preferred
- Mitral valve repair or replacement
- Tricuspid valve repair or replacement
- Aortic valve replacement
- Atrial septal defect and patent foramen ovale closure
- Atrioventricular septal defect surgery
- Maze procedure for atrial fibrillation
- Coronary artery bypass surgery
- Saphenous vein harvest for coronary artery bypass surgery
The risk factors
While minimally invasive cardiac surgeries come with a lot of benefits, it’s not devoid of its share of risks. Some of these include the following:
- Irregular heart rhythms (arrhythmias)
- Loss of life
Life after surgery
As we’ve already mentioned, after a minimally invasive cardiac surgery, your return to normal life will be rather quick. The surgery will significantly improve the quality of your life and reduce your symptoms. Make sure that you adhere to your doctor’s advice regarding your day-to-day activities such as working, exercising or driving.
Most important of all, make sure that you never miss a single follow-up appointment. It’s crucial to follow doctor’s advice to recover fully after the surgery.
Dr. Ravi Shetty | Senior and Chief Consultant – Cardiac Surgery – Adult, Cardiac Surgery – Paediatric, Heart Transplant, Thoracic & Vascular Surgery – Paediatric, Thoracic Surgery | M S Ramaiah Narayana Heart Centre, M S Ramaiah Nagar, Bangalore