Robotically Assisted Mitral Valve Repair


Find out what to expect in robotically assisted heart surgery.

What is Robotically Assisted Heart Surgery?

Mitral Valve Surgery:

New Approaches to Minimally Invasive Heart Surgery

Robotically assisted mitral valve surgery is a type of minimally invasive heart surgery performed by a cardiac surgeon, on the mitral valve with an endoscopic, closed chest approach.

Your mitral valve

There are four valves within your heart. They are the mitral, tricuspid, aortic and pulmonic valves. The mitral valve lies between the left atrium (upper heart chamber) and the left ventricle (lower heart chamber). Learn more about the heart valves.

Inside heart aortic valve

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What is valve disease?

Valve disease occurs when your heart's valves do not work correctly. This can be caused by valve stenosis (stiff, fused, inflexible leaflets, limiting flow of blood) or valve regurgitation (leaky heart valve, occurs when the leaflets do not close completely). Learn more about valve disease.

Mitral valve surgery

When the mitral valve does not function properly, the mitral valve must be repaired or replaced. At Cleveland Clinic, mitral valve repair is the procedure of choice for most patients with mitral valve disease. If you require mitral valve surgery, either repair or replacement, you may be a candidate for robotically assisted mitral valve surgery

Robotically-Assisted Valve Surgery: smaller incision

Traditional, open-chest surgeries, such as mitral and tricuspid valve surgery, and bypass surgery involve: placing the patient on the heart-lung bypass machine to circulate oxygenated blood during surgery; creating a 6- to 8-inch incision through the sternum; spreading the ribs to view the heart and stopping the heart in order to stabilize the blood vessels.

Conventional minimally invasive surgery decreases the size of the incision to about 3 to 4 inches.

Traditional open heart surgery incision

Robotically assisted surgery incision

The minimally-invasive robotically-assisted technique uses even smaller incisions – often less than 2 inches. The surgeon’s hands control the movement and placement of the endoscopic instruments to open the pericardium (thin sac that surrounds the heart) and to perform the procedure. In most cases, the sternum or breastbone does not need to be opened and the ribs do not need to be spread to perform the procedure.

Procedure Details

How does robotically assisted heart surgery work?

During mitral valve surgery, the surgeon is able to get an undistorted 3-D view of the mitral valve, leaflets and subvalvular structures with use of a high powered camera. and a lateral thoracic approach. The robotic surgical system is used to control instruments, which are attached to thin, robotic arms. The surgeon's hands control the movement and placement of the instruments. The robotic “arm and wrist” movements mimic those of the surgeon's hand to enable the surgeon to follow the same steps as a traditional mitral valve surgery - including a variety of repair techniques and mitral valve replacement.


Risks / Benefits

What are the benefits of robotically-assisted surgery?

Compared with traditional surgery, the benefits of robotically-assisted surgery 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.

Additional Details

Information about Robotic surgery:

Information about mitral valve disease treatments:

Other robotically assisted heart surgeries

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Robotically Assisted Removal

How do I find a heart surgeon?

Cleveland Clinic has the nation's largest valve treatment program. Doctors vary in quality due to differences in training and experience; hospitals differ in the number of services available. The more complex your medical problem, the greater these differences in quality become and the more they matter.

Clearly, the doctor and hospital that you choose for complex, specialized medical care will have a direct impact on how well you do. To help you make this choice, please review our Miller Family Heart, Vascular & Thoracic Institute Outcomes.

Cleveland Clinic Heart, Vascular & Thoracic Institute Surgeons

Robot assisted surgery is performed by specially trained cardiovascular surgeons. Some of these surgeons perform only specific types of robotically assisted heart surgery. We would be happy to help you find the right surgeon to treat your medical condition.

The Mitral and Tricuspid Valve Center surgeons offers expertise and experience to provide the best outcomes possible.

The Miller Family Heart, Vascular & Thoracic Institute offers specialty centers and clinics for patients whose treatment requires the expertise of a group of doctors and surgeons who focus on valve disease:

If you would like to find out whether you are a candidate for robot assisted mitral valve surgery or learn more about minimally invasive heart surgery, contact us or call the Miller Family Heart, Vascular & Thoracic Institute Resource & Information Nurse at 216.445.9288 or toll-free at 866.289.6911. We would be happy to help you.

Medically Reviewed

Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 07/17/2019.

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