Robotically Assisted Heart Surgery: Tricuspid Valve Surgery:

New Approaches to Minimally Invasive Heart Surgery

For more information about tricuspid valve disease treatments:

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

Your tricuspid valve

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

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.

Tricuspid valve surgery

When the tricuspid valve does not function properly, it is often necessary to repair or replace it. At the Cleveland Clinic, tricuspid valve repair is the procedure of choice for most patients with tricuspid valve disease. If you require tricuspid valve surgery, either repair or replacement, you may be a candidate for robotically assisted tricuspid 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

Traditional open heart surgery incision

Robotically assisted 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.

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

How robotically assisted heart surgery works.

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, mitral valve replacement, and redo mitral valve surgery. Learn how robotically assisted heart surgery works.

Surgeons who perform robotically assisted heart surgery

Robot assisted surgery is performed by specially trained cardiovascular surgeons. Cleveland Clinic Heart Surgeons who perform robotic assisted surgery include:

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.

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

Robotic Surgery

Robotically assisted heart surgeries

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Department of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery Images used with permission by © Intuitive Surgical, Inc.

Reviewed: 11/17