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Mitral valve disease is very prevalent among women with mitral valve prolapse, a condition characterized by a 'floppy valve' that causes this valve to leak. The leak is described by medical terms like 'mitral insufficiency' or 'mitral regurgitation' (MR). When the leakage is severe, a mitral valve repair is indicated and can be performed through a tiny incision hidden in the skin fold underneath the right breast.
There are several elements that make this option a superior choice.
A mitral repair is much better than a replacement because you get to keep your valve for the rest of your life instead of having it replaced with a prosthetic valve that either requires using blood thinners or a repeat operation years later.
This tiny chest incision causes less bleeding with very few patients requiring any blood transfusion
The surgical wound heals rapidly and with very little pain
The scar location on the skin crease underneath the right breast makes this operation virtually scarless
Wound infection is almost unheard of
Most patients recover fast enough to go back home in two or three days and back to work in two weeks
The vast majority of women and men affected by this condition are suitable candidates for this minimally invasive mitral valve repair operation and should not settle for anything less. If your local physicians and surgeon cannot offer these less invasive options you might want to consider a second opinion in a reputable minimally invasive heart surgery center, even if it means traveling out of state. An expert cardiac surgeon can perform a repair rather than a replacement in over 95% of the cases and use a minimally invasive technique in most of his/her patients.