View a video about robotically assisted heart surgery with Tomislav Mihaljevic, MD, Department of Cardiovascular & Thoracic Surgery.

What is robotically-assisted heart surgery?

Robotically-assisted heart surgery, also called closed-chest heart surgery, is a type of minimally invasive heart surgery performed by a cardiac surgeon. The surgeon uses a specially-designed computer console to control surgical instruments on thin robotic arms.

Robotically-assisted surgery has changed the way certain heart operations are being performed. This technology allows surgeons to perform certain types of complex heart surgeries with smaller incisions and precise motion control, offering patients improved outcomes.

Types of Robotically assisted heart surgeries:

What are the benefits of robotically-assisted heart surgery?

Compared with traditional surgery, the benefits of robotically-assisted surgery may include:

  • Smaller incisions with minimal scarring
  • Less trauma to the patient, including less pain
  • Shorter hospital stay (usually 3 to 4 days)
  • Decreased use of pain medications
  • Less bleeding
  • Decreased risk of infection
  • Shorter recovery and quicker return to daily and professional activities: The patient can resume normal activities and work as soon as he or she feels up to it; there are no specific activity restrictions after robotically-assisted surgery

Who is a candidate for robotically assisted heart surgery?

Diagnostic tests are performed to determine if you are an appropriate candidate for robotically-assisted surgery, including a cardiac catheterization and chest x-ray. An echocardiogram and/or a computed tomography scan also may be required to provide more information about your medical condition.

Your surgeon will review the results of these diagnostic tests to determine if you are an appropriate candidate for robotically-assisted surgery. The type of treatment recommended for your condition will depend on several factors, including the type and severity of heart disease, your age, medical history and lifestyle.

Reviewed: 06/13