The most common type of heart disease in the United States is coronary artery disease (CAD). Claiming about half a million lives every year, it is the leading cause of death for men and women.
When medications or lifestyle changes aren’t enough to ease symptoms or reduce the risk of heart attack, your doctor may recommend surgery. Coronary artery bypass surgery – often called CABG – uses healthy arteries or veins from other areas of the body to bypass (or go around) clogged coronary arteries. This improves blood flow to the heart and helps prevent heart attack.
In traditional open CABG surgery, a surgeon will make a large chest incision through the breastbone (sternum). To reach and operate on the heart, the surgeon may also need to separate some of the patient's ribs.
An alternative to open surgery is minimally invasive surgery, where a surgeon will make a few small incisions in the chest and use long instruments to reach the heart. The goal of minimally invasive surgery is to reduce some of the trauma of open surgery.
Now, for some patients and certain conditions, minimally invasive cardiac procedures can be performed using the da Vinci Surgical System, which uses the latest advancements in surgical and robotic technologies. Because surgeons operate through a few small incisions instead of the large chest incision used in open surgery, da Vinci can be beneficial for complex surgeries like coronary bypass.
Comparison of an open cardiac surgery incision (left) and typical da Vinci cardiac surgery incisions (right). Incision locations for da Vinci surgery vary depending upon the specific procedure.
Surgical procedures offered at Wellmont Health System using the da Vinci surgery system include:
The da Vinci system features a magnified 3D high-definition video system and special instruments that bend and rotate much more than the human wrist. The precise movements of these small instruments mean your doctor can operate with enhanced vision and control.
Traditional open cardiac surgeries can have several drawbacks, including a long recovery caused primarily by the large incisions, splitting of the breastbone and spreading of the ribs necessary to access the chest cavity.
With da Vinci, splitting the breastbone and ribcage is avoided. Because the surgeon operates through a few small incisions between the ribs. the breastbone doesn’t need to be cut and the ribs can be left in place.
This means da Vinci procedures offer potential benefits over open surgery such as:
That’s a question to ask your doctor. If your doctor recommends surgery to treat a heart or vascular condition, you may be a candidate for da Vinci surgery.
However, individual results can vary and da Vinci surgery is not appropriate for every patient or every condition. It’s important to discuss your treatment and surgical options, as well as the risks and benefits of each, with your health care provider.
da Vinci cardiac surgery is offered at Bristol Regional Medical Center.
If you're looking for more information or have questions about minimally invasive da Vinci robotic surgery,
please contact us or speak to your primary care provider or a da Vinci-trained surgeon.
If you have questions or would like more information about minimally invasive da Vinci Surgery services, please let us know.
Very small surgical instruments used with the da Vinci system help make minimally invasive procedures possible. Da Vinci translates your doctor’s hand movements into the smaller, more precise movements of these instruments inside your body.
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