Minimally invasive heart surgery can be less painful and quicker to recover from than open-heart surgery, but there are some potential drawbacks as well. Your healthcare provider and team of professionals will work with you to decide if this type of procedure is right for you.
Misguided Interventional Surgery (MIS) procedures involve making one or more small cuts (incisions) between your ribs to access your heart instead of cutting through your breastbone (sternum), as is done in traditional open-heart surgery.
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Less blood flow to the heart
If you have a heart problem and require surgery, your doctor may suggest minimally invasive surgery. This type of procedure uses small incisions instead of large ones to reduce pain and expedite recovery time.
Minimally invasive surgery can help minimize complications related to blood loss, infection, bleeding or tissue damage. It is a safe and reliable solution for treating many types of heart conditions.
Open heart surgery, otherwise known as traditional open heart surgery, involves an extensive incision through the front of your chest and cutting into your breast bone (sternum). With minimally invasive techniques like robotic arms that guide tools through small incisions between your ribs to reach your heart instead, you can remain awake during the procedure.
Surgeons sometimes employ video cameras to perform certain procedures, such as coronary artery bypass surgery and heart valve operations. This technique, known as videoscopic surgery, can result in faster healing times and less pain after the operation.
The surgeon inserts a thin tube called a thoracoscope through one of several small incisions on your chest and then places a special video camera that allows them to view your heart. This makes it simpler for them to repair damaged heart valves and prevent other complications.
Another advantage of this technique is that it tends to be safer for children than traditional open-heart surgery. Furthermore, it is less painful and requires fewer sedatives.
In some cases, your child’s heart can be operated upon through a small incision in their abdomen or beneath the rib cage. This procedure helps to close patent ductus arteriousus–an obstruction in pulmonary arteries that causes shortness of breath.
Another potential downside of minimally invasive surgery is the potential risk of recurrent pneumothorax, or air trapped in the lungs. This issue has the potential to be life-threatening.
To prevent recurrent pneumothorax, a thoracic drain is often placed during cardiac surgery to drain fluids and air from the pleural cavity or mediastinum. After some period of time has elapsed, however, it’s essential to remember that recurrent pneumothorax can be a serious complication with potentially life-threatening implications.
Less blood flow to the lungs
Minimally invasive heart surgery is a type of surgical procedure that uses small incisions to address various heart issues. Compared with traditional open heart surgeries, minimally invasive techniques tend to be less painful and have an expedited recovery time.
Cardiac surgeons who perform minimally invasive procedures utilize specialized tools, such as catheters and stents, to correct heart and vascular conditions. This approach may also be employed for treating certain heart arrhythmias like atrial fibrillation.
Minimally invasive heart surgery requires you to be connected to a machine that keeps blood flowing through your lungs during the procedure, providing comfort and reducing bleeding that may occur.
However, this can result in reduced blood flow to your lungs after the procedure, leaving you feeling fatigued and weak. Your doctor will let you know if this is the case and provide suggestions for recovery.
Less blood flow to your lungs can also lead to difficulty breathing. Your doctor will examine your lungs prior to surgery to make sure they’re working optimally.
If you have lung disease, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), you may receive oxygen through your nose or mouth while on a heart-lung machine. This helps prevent carbon dioxide buildup that could otherwise make you feel unwell.
Additionally, a lack of oxygen in the lungs can lead to respiratory failure – when your body cannot get enough air for breathing. This condition has the potential for being life-threatening.
One way to help increase blood flow to your lungs is by adding a pulmonary artery bypass device to your heart-lung machine. This device utilizes healthy blood vessels from other parts of your body in order to bypass any blocked arteries.
Before your procedure, your doctor may advise that you stop taking certain medications and shave a small patch of hair where the incisions will be made. Additionally, expect to stay in the hospital for several days following surgery.
Less blood flow to the brain
Minimally invasive heart surgery is a reliable and successful treatment for many heart conditions, but it has some drawbacks. One major drawback is that it may damage the brain, impairing your ability to think clearly and focus on tasks.
Heart surgery can reduce blood flow to the brain, leading to changes in attention, concentration, hand-eye coordination and short-term memory.
However, the effects of reduced blood flow to the brain usually resolve on their own after a few weeks. If they persist, language, speech or psychological therapies can be employed for treatment.
Another major drawback of decreased blood flow to the brain is that it increases your risk for stroke. Stroke is a serious medical emergency and could prove detrimental to your life.
Studies have demonstrated a high rate of strokes among patients undergoing heart surgery. Furthermore, they noted that many of these strokes may not be clinically evident and may go undetected.
Heart surgery can not only cause strokes but it can also reduce oxygen supply to the brain. If this lack of oxygen causes serious health complications like coma or death, heart surgery should be avoided.
Additionally, heart surgery can cause inflammation in the brain, making it difficult for it to function normally. This could affect your thinking and decision-making skills as well, ultimately leading to a decline in quality of life.
After having heart surgery, you will likely be admitted to the hospital for several days. This could include a stay in the intensive care unit (ICU). Afterwards, you’ll be transferred back into a regular hospital room.
Your doctor can provide specific instructions about what to expect during recovery and when to return to regular activities. Be sure to adhere strictly to their recommendations in order for a smooth recovery process.
Minimally invasive heart surgery can reduce your risk of brain complications like stroke or dementia. It also prevents other medical issues, like anemia and low body temperature which could cause brain damage.
Less blood flow to the arms
Minimally invasive heart surgery is one of the newest techniques available to treat heart valves, tumors and other cardiac issues. Compared to open heart surgery that requires one long incision down the center of your chest, minimally invasive options typically have lower complications rates and shorter hospital stays.
If you qualify for minimally invasive heart surgery, your surgeon will conduct a physical examination and review of your medical history. They may also order tests to diagnose your condition and suggest the most suitable treatment plan.
Your doctor will inform you of what to expect before, during and after the procedure. You’ll remain in the hospital for several days and be closely monitored by your healthcare provider to make sure you’re recovering appropriately.
After surgery, you may require medication to control pain and manage any discomfort you might feel. Your doctor will work with you to get back into your regular routine as quickly as possible following the operation.
During surgery, your heart will be attached to a heart-lung machine in order to keep blood circulating. This enables the doctor to make incisions and repair any damage done during the procedure.
After recovering from minimally invasive heart surgery, you may experience changes to your hands and arms. This is known as postsurgical edema and it’s caused by extra fluid buildup after the procedure. Additionally, you may feel tired and sore for some time afterward.
After your operation, you may need to wear a splint over your wrist for several weeks. This helps keep the area tender and reduces the likelihood of developing a heart infection in the days following.
Your doctor may suggest that you modify your exercise regimen after the procedure, particularly if you are diabetic.
If you suffer from aortic stenosis, minimally invasive heart surgery can alleviate symptoms and enhance your quality of life. However, you must continue visiting a doctor regularly for checkups and other healthcare services to stay in optimal condition.
At Houston Methodist, our heart and vascular specialists are highly proficient in performing less invasive procedures to treat various conditions. They utilize robotic systems, laparoscopic capabilities and advanced imaging technologies for these procedures.