Minimally Invasive Heart Valve Surgery

Our surgeons use advanced endoscopic technology to perform an ever-growing number of heart surgeries with minimally invasive techniques. 

In minimally invasive surgery, the heart is accessed through small incisions in the right chest wall.  Specially designed instruments are used to perform the operation. 

Minimally invasive heart surgery is an option for patients who have a low risk of complications and whose blockages can be bypassed through a smaller incision. Advantages of the minimally invasive approach include:

  • Reduced pain and recovery time
  • Lower risk of infection
  • Less blood loss
  • Smaller, less noticeable scarring
  • Shorter hospital stay

One of the major advantages of this approach is that the surgeon does not need to split the patient’s breastbone to access the heart. This reduces pain and recovery time for most patients, enabling them to resume normal daily activities sooner.  Besides reducing trauma for the patient, minimally invasive surgery also provides the surgeon a better view of some parts of the heart anatomy than was possible with traditional open heart surgery.

Minimally invasive surgery can be used to treat congenital (present at birth) heart problems and issues that have developed later in life.

Questions and Answers

1. What types of problems are treated?
Minimally invasive surgical procedures that our surgeons currently perform include:

  • Aortic valve surgery
  • Mitral valve surgery
  • Tricuspid valve surgery
  • Atrial septal defect closure, including patent foramen ovale
  • Atrioventricular canal defect (also called atrioventricular septal defect) surgery
  • Atrial fibrillation surgery (also called the Maze procedure)
  • Off-pump (without a cardiopulmonary bypass machine) coronary artery bypass surgery (also called minimally invasive direct coronary bypass
  • Saphenous vein harvest for coronary artery bypass surgery
  • Most lung and heart surgeries

2. Who is a candidate for minimally invasive heart surgery?
Your cardiothoracic surgeon will review the results of your diagnostic tests to determine whether you are a candidate for the minimally invasive approach. Conditions that may exclude a patient from minimally invasive heart surgery include:

  • Severe valve damage
  • Clogged arteries (atherosclerosis or hardening of the arteries)
  • Obesity

3. What are the risks associated with less invasive surgeries?
All major surgeries have the potential for complications. Only your doctor can determine your risk factors and help you weigh the risks and benefits of a given procedure.

4. Why choose Boulder Community Health?
Foothills Hospital is the only hospital in Boulder County that offers open heart surgery.  Our experienced open heart team includes highly trained nurses and technicians.  

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