Weill Cornell Medicine is at the forefront of performing minimally invasive heart surgery. Endoscopic robotic heart surgery is a type of minimally invasive surgery that involves using robotic instruments through very small incisions. This method is an alternative over a sternotomy, the traditional way heart surgery has been done, which involves splitting the breastplate with a saw. The ability to perform surgery through tiny incisions can improve the patient’s outcome and recovery time. Having full access to the heart without opening the chest causes minimal trauma, less blood loss, less post-operative discomfort and lowers the risk of infection.
What distinguishes endoscopic robotic cardiac surgery from other minimally invasive techniques is the small size of the incisions and lack of a rib-spreading thoracotomy incision (opening in the chest). For instance, the largest incision in a typical endoscopic robotic mitral valve repair is 15 mm. Also most published series have demonstrated a significantly higher mitral valve repair rate compared to open surgical series or databases.
The Weill Cornell Medicine Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery heart surgery program offers endoscopic robotic surgery to patients who are candidates for these procedures. Some of the types of heart surgery procedures that can be performed robotically include:
- Mitral valve repair or replacement (mostly repair)
- Atrial septal defect closures
- Removal of cardiac tumors (atrial myxomas for example)
- Septal Myectomy for Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy
- Tricuspid valve repair or replacement
- Coronary artery bypass (for blocked arteries to the heart)
- Pacemaker lead placement (for heart failure)