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This article will explain to you the technical details that allow an expert heart surgeon to carry out an aortic valve replacement through a 2' incision on the right side of the chest, between the ribs (minithoracotomy). This approach has several advantages over the traditional open heart operation carried out through a foot long split of the breast bone. Here is a step-by-step description of this revolutionary technique:
A 2' incision is created between the third and the fourth rib on the right side of the chest
All connections to the heart lung machine are executed through this tiny incision
The aortic valve is easily exposed and removed along with all calcifications
A new biological, mechanical or autologous valve is placed
A local anesthetic is infiltrated in the spaces between the ribs to insure excellent pain control
The incision is closed in layers and the skin is reapproximated with plastic surgery techniques
The patient is then transferred to the recovery room
This minimally invasive heart surgery technique is available in specialized centers and a growing number of patients are traveling at times significant distances to enjoy its superior results, namely:
Much less pain and bleeding than a sternotomy in the immediate postop
A faster recovery and wound healing
No physical limitations during recovery because no bone was broken
Less chances of wound infection
A great cosmetic results with a hardly noticeable scar away from the midline. It cannot be seen through an open shirt, blouse or evening gown
Become an informed consumer and learn about your options. If your local hospital cannot offer this expertise call a reputable minimally invasive heart surgery center and inquire about your specific operation.