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Minimally Invasive Cardiac Surgery

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Minimally invasive cardiac surgery, also called as keyhole surgery is performed using small incisions on the chest, instead of making a large incision. This surgery is becoming the surgery of choice for most surgeons due to its quick recovery time and lesser chances of secondary infection.

What is Minimally Invasive Cardiac Surgery?

A variety of surgeries performed through a number of small incisions that causes less trauma as compared to the standard cardiac operations is called as minimally invasive cardiac surgery. The incisions made are about 3 to 4 inches in length as compared to the 8 to 10 inches of the incision made in traditional surgeries.

What are the Benefits of Minimally Invasive Cardiac Surgery?

There are many advantages of minimally invasive cardiac surgery. They include:

  • Smaller incisions that lead to smaller scars
  • Reduced risk of infection of the scar
  • Less blood loss and lesser pain
  • No division of breastbone needed in case of assisted heart surgery
  • Smaller incisions heal faster, leading to shorter hospital stay of about 3 to 5 days as compared to the 5 to 7 days of traditional cardiac surgery
  • Physical restrictions on the patients are lesser as compared to those in traditional cardiac surgery
  • Shorter recovery time of about to 2 to 4 weeks as compared to 6 to 8 weeks in traditional cardiac surgery

Types of Minimally Invasive Cardiac Surgeries

There are different types of minimally invasive heart surgeries. These surgeries include:

  • Valve repair and valve replacement surgeries
  • Minimally invasive direct coronary artery bypass graft (MIDCABG) surgery
  • Saphenous vein harvest
  • Off-pump/ beating heart bypass surgery
  • Atrial septal defects

Am I A Candidate for Minimally Invasive Cardiac Surgery?

The surgeon will conduct a series of diagnostic tests to determine if you are eligible for a minimally invasive heart surgery. All the pros and cons of both traditional open heart surgery and minimally invasive surgery will be carefully weighed. Then depending on the severity of the heart disease, patient age, overall health, lifestyle and other medical conditions, if any, you can be recommended to undergo minimally invasive cardiac surgery.

What Happens after the Surgery?

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After the surgery, one may feel a little discomfort and pain. The doctor will prescribe you with medications that ease the pain. You need to rest and allow the incisions to heal. You will be allowed to go home after about 3 to 5 days of the surgery.

When Can I Resume Work?

You can return to work, that is, sedentary office work, driving or carry out non-strenuous activities within 1 to 4 weeks after undergoing minimally invasive heart surgery. After about 5 to 8 weeks one can carry out slightly more strenuous activities as well as lift heavy weights.

Do I Need to make Lifestyle Changes?

Yes, in order to maintain cardiac health, one has to undergo certain lifestyle changes. These changes include:

  • Quit smoking
  • Maintain cholesterol levels
  • Manage blood pressure and diabetes
  • Exercise regularly
  • Maintain healthy body weight
  • Eat a heart healthy diet of low sodium
  • Follow regular check ups with the doctor

Minimally invasive cardiac surgery has many benefits and has cosmetic benefits as well. Speak to your surgeon regarding minimally invasive heart surgery for more details.

Written by: Saptakee sengupta
Date last updated: March 29, 2015