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Transcript for Robotically Assisted Heart Surgery

Tomislav Mihaljevic, M.D.
Video by Tomislav Mihaljevic, MD

Specialties: Minimally invasive cardiac surgery, image-guided cardiac surgery, robotics in cardiac surgery, heart failure, mitral and aortic valve repair and replacement, coronary artery disease, beating heart revascularization, Maze procedure, heart and lung transplantation, ventricular assist devices, and adult congenital heart disease.

Hello. My name is Tomislav Mihaljevic. I’m a heart surgeon at the Miller Family Heart & Vascular Institute.

Robotically assisted heart surgery is an exciting, minimally invasive alternative to traditional open heart surgery. Using robotic technology, heart surgeons can maneuver four thin robotic arms through small incisions in the chest that are no larger than the size of a pencil in diameter. Tiny instruments and a camera the size of a dime are attached to the robotic arms, which are manipulated by the surgeon from a computer console 10 feet away from the patient.

Use of robots in minimally invasive surgical procedures allows surgeons to have better control over the surgical instruments and a better view of what they are doing.

Because robotically assisted heart surgery is performed through much smaller incisions than traditional open-heart surgery and does not require a division of the breastbone, there is typically less pain for the patient, minimal scarring and a lower rate of complications. There is also a faster recovery period. After traditional heart surgery, it typically takes patients about three months to return to 80% normal. With minimally invasive surgery, patients are typically feeling better within days.

At Cleveland Clinic, we are using the robotically assisted technique for mitral valve surgery, coronary artery bypass grafting, tricuspid valve surgery, atrial fibrillation surgery, atrial septal defect closures, PFO, removal of cardiac tumors and placement of left ventricular leads on the surface of the heart for biventricular or ICD devices. All patients can be considered for robotically-assisted heart surgery. Diagnostic testing and a thorough discussion with your surgeon will determine the best approach for each patient.

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Reviewed: 04/11

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