Minimal Access Cardiac Surgery

Minimal access surgeries are procedures performed through small incisions. It is an advancement to traditional surgical techniques, where large incisions are required for the surgeon to have a clear view of the operating site. Cardiac surgeries are traditionally performed through an open method, where a long incision is made down the chest and the breast bone is separated to expose the heart. Now, the same is made possible with the use of a fibre-optic tube called a laparoscope, which has a light source and a camera attached to its end. When passed into the body through a small incision, the camera captures and displays the operating site for the surgeon to view on a TV monitor.

Minimal access cardiac surgery is performed under general anaesthesia. Depending on the surgery, 3 to 4 incisions of approximately 3 to 5 cm may be made on your chest. The laparoscope is inserted through one of the incisions and other surgical instruments are inserted through the other incisions. The laparoscope guides your surgeon visually through the surgery by projecting the internal images onto a monitor. You are connected to a heart and lung machine which performs the normal function of the heart during the surgery. Once the surgery is completed, drains are placed, the incision is stitched together and you are taken to the intensive care unit. The drains are removed after a day or two of the surgery.

Minimal access cardiac surgery vs. open cardiac surgery

Minimal access cardiac surgery advantages may include:

  • Less pain
  • Shorter hospital stay
  • Smaller scars
  • Less blood loss
  • Faster recovery