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Minimally Invasive Cardiac Surgery

Standard heart surgery typically requires exposure of the heart and its vessels through median sternotomy (dividing the breastbone), considered one of the most invasive and traumatic aspects of open-chest surgery. A minimally invasive approach allows access to the heart through small incisions and without stopping the heart, or separating the breastbone (sternum) and ribcage, or requiring a heart-lung machine to be used.


Above: Minimally invasive instruments position and stabilize the heart during coronary artery bypass surgery,
avoiding the need for a sternotomy (incision of the sternum).

Minimally Invasive Procedures:

USC surgeons are trained in all aspects of minimally invasive surgery, including beating heart operations for CABG as well as the port-access minimally invasive surgical platform that utilizes CPB and an endovascular catheter system to arrest the heart and provide protection during the operation. It is the only minimally invasive technology that makes it possible to provide the time-tested myocardial protection achieved through cardiopulmonary bypass (CPB). Operating on a protected, motionless heart is the only way to gain the high degree of precision and accuracy required for complete revascularization. USC surgeons are committed to achieving this proven requisite for enhancing long-term patency and valve function and reducing the need for repeat surgeries.

Minimally invasive surgery is applicable to the broadest range of complex cardiac cases. Endovascular delivery of CPB provides an unobstructed field of vision, in which surgeons can safely turn, manipulate and open the heart. Thus, port-access procedures are used safely to perform multi-vessel bypass, involving all coronary arteries, and to repair or replace diseased heart valves. For mitral valve repair or replacement procedures, surgeons find that the port-access approach provides access superior to that achieved in traditional open-chest surgery. The current technology's high degree of flexibility and precision have allowed USC surgeons to successfully perform difficult cases involving both multi-vessel bypass, mitral valve repair and multi-valve operations. Minimally invasive technology also is used at USC to repair congenital heart defects. Additionally, the minimally invasive approach is applicable for aortic valve replacement, especially in elderly patients, and is well suited for patients who have had prior valve procedures.

Related link: Robotic Surgery Institute

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