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

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.

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

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