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Minimally Invasive Bypass Surgery

A kinder, gentler heart bypass

Each year, heart surgeons worldwide perform more than 800,000 coronary artery bypass graft surgeries. This procedure, known as CABG and pronounced “cabbage,” uses blood vessels to “bypass” a blockage and restore normal blood flow to the heart.

The traditional CABG procedure, which was pioneered at Cleveland Clinic in 1967, is very effective and is now performed every day at academic medical centers and community hospitals alike. But with advances in minimally invasive technology over the past decade, many surgeons have wondered if the procedure could be improved. Could it be performed in such a way that offers patients less pain and a shorter recovery?

Less pain, faster recovery

At the Cleveland Clinic Sydell and Arnold Miller Family Heart & Vascular Institute, Joseph F. Sabik, MD, is now doing exactly that. Dr. Sabik, Chairman of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery, performs a “mini” coronary artery bypass through three- to four-inch incisions. The traditional method, by comparison, requires the patient’s breastbone to be split.

“The mini-procedure offers less pain and a hospital stay that’s shorter by about two days,” says Dr. Sabik. In addition, the surgery is most often done without a blood transfusion.

As with the traditional CABG, the “mini” procedure uses a healthy artery or vein from the patient’s chest, leg or arm. This graft bypasses the clogged coronary blood vessel to relieve symptoms of coronary artery disease (including angina), enabling the patient to resume a normal lifestyle and lowering the risk of a heart attack or other heart problems.

Who is a candidate?

Decisions are made on a case-by-case basis, weighing a patient’s size, coronary artery quality and the number of grafts needed. “Many people can take advantage of this new procedure,” Dr. Sabik concludes. “For an average person who needs two or three grafts, we can perform the mini-CABG procedure instead.”

While the mini-CABG procedure is impressive in and of itself, Dr. Sabik notes that what is even more exciting is the fact that it is only one of many minimally invasive surgeries being performed at Cleveland Clinic, including procedures to repair or replace aortic and mitral valves.

“Technology is really coming together. We’re able to perform heart operations better and more safely through smaller incisions than ever before,” he says.

Find out if the mini-CABG procedure is right for you

Contact us, chat online with a nurse or call the Miller Heart & Vascular Institute Resource & Information Nurse at 216.445.9288 or toll-free at 866.289.6911. We would be happy to help you.

Reviewed: 01/09

Talk to a Nurse: Mon. - Fri., 8:30 a.m. - 4 p.m. (ET)

Call a Heart & Vascular Nurse locally 216.445.9288 or toll-free 866.289.6911.

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This information is provided by Cleveland Clinic and is not intended to replace the medical advice of your doctor or health care provider. Please consult your health care provider for advice about a specific medical condition.

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