Heart 101

Heart 101

Minimally invasive heart surgery is when a cardiac surgeon performs heart surgery by making small incisions on the right side of a person’s chest and is considered to be an alternative to open heart surgery. The main difference with this kind of heart surgery is that a surgeon doesn’t split the breast bone but operates between the ribs. This procedure gives less pain and a quicker recovery for most people. It is important to note that with minimally invasive surgery, your surgeon has a clearer view of certain parts of your heart than with open heart surgery. 

There are various types of minimally heart surgeries such as aortic valve surgery, heart valve surgery and mitral valve surgery. Before being considered for minimally heart surgery, your doctor may want to perform some tests and review your medical history to see if you are a good candidate for this kind of surgery. Keep in mind that minimally heart surgery is not for everyone; however, it offers many advantages for those who are good candidates.

Some of the advantages of this kind of heart surgery are: a lower risk of infection, less blood loss, reduced pain and trauma, shorter time in the hospital, faster recovery and a speedier return to normal daily activities. In addition, the scars are smaller and less noticeable. In most cases, there are fewer risks with this heart surgery. Some of the risks are bleeding, stroke and wound infection; however, these risks also occur in other surgeries.

It is important to note that this procedure is performed if a person has a blockage in one or two coronary arteries; often in the front of the heart. However, before this procedure is done, your doctor may have first treated you with medicines and cardiac rehabilitation may have also been tried. Recovery from minimally invasive heart surgery takes time and benefits of it may not be seen until 3 to 6 months later. Also, this kind of surgery does not prevent a blockage from coming back but there are things you can do to that will slow down the blockage such as not smoking, eating a healthy diet, getting regular exercise and treating high blood pressure.

Some are not aware that those who go through this procedure may be able to go home 2 to 5 days after surgery. Your progress will be followed by a healthcare team and they will ensure that you recover in a timely manner. Before leaving the hospital, your healthcare team will give you certain instructions for your recovery such as guidelines for driving, various activities, diet and incision care.

Most importantly, if you have a sedentary job, you may be able to go back to work within 1 to 4 weeks after the surgery. In about 5 t0 8 weeks you can return to heavy lifting and other strenuous activities.

To conclude, this type of surgery is quite effective, with fewer risks and an alternative to open heart surgery.