Thoracoscopic Maze surgery is a minimally invasive surgical ablation procedure that uses an energy source to form a maze of scar tissue over the heart to cure atrial fibrillation. It is as effective as the standard Cox Maze surgery. The ideal candidates for thoracoscopic minimally invasive maze surgery are patients without any other cardiac problems other than atrial fibrillation.
Thoracoscopic Maze surgery does not require an open heart surgery and can be performed on the beating heart through 3-4 small incisions on either side of the chest. These provide good access to the required surgical area around the heart. Surgical instruments, an ablation device and thoracoscope are inserted through these small incisions, over the chest. The thoracoscope provides the surgeon with real time, clear, magnified images of the heart. A surgical ablation device is then used to electrically isolate the segments of the heart responsible for atrial fibrillation or abnormal heart rhythm into separated compartments. The whole procedure takes a few hours.
As the surgery is performed through small incisions, it minimises trauma and has the advantage of smaller scars, decreased risk of infection, less bleeding, reduced requirement of transfusion, less post-operative pain, fast recovery, shorter hospital stay and quicker return to daily normal activities. Since a heart–lung machine is not used the risk of stroke and renal failure is also reduced and the incidence of cognitive side effects is also low.