Mitral valve surgery has traditionally been approached through making an incision in the sternum (breastbone) often called “sternotomy” or breastbone, with at least 90% of all mitral valve repair procedures carried out in that way.
Minimally invasive procedures provide patients with a number of advantages, such as decreased recovery time – on average, the patient may return to normal activities within two weeks instead of months (more common when a sternotomy is involved). Other benefits include reduced blood loss during the operation, requiring fewer transfusions, less risk of infection, and improved cosmetic results.
It is desirable to avoid opening the breast bone whenever possible. Using the da Vinci Surgical system, a number of small incisions are made on the right side of the chest, around the breast as well as a small incision near the groin. Mitral valve replacements, which happen more rarely than repairs, are carried out through a 2″ incision made under the right breast and a small 1½” incision in the groin.
The majority of patients who require mitral valve surgery can undergo a mitral valve repair, preferable to replacement because short term, intermediate term, and long term outcomes all improve with repair, compared to replacement.
To find out if you are a candidate for minimally invasive robotic surgery, please contact us.