Minimally Invasive Valve Surgery Procedure
Minimally invasive valve surgery takes three to four hours. You will be asleep during surgery.
For mitral valve surgery, the surgeon makes an 8-centimeter horizontal incision in the right side of the chest, just under the breast.
For aortic valve surgery, the surgeon makes one of two types of incisions. The choice of incision depends on patient anatomy and preference. One type is a 6-centimeter vertical incision in the center of the chest. With this incision, the surgeon will need to split a small portion of the breastbone. The other type is a 5 to 6-centimeter horizontal incision in the upper right part of the chest. With this incision, the breastbone does not need to be split.
After the incision is made, the surgeon then directs blood from the heart to a bypass machine. The bypass machine does the job of the heart and lungs during the operation.
The surgeon then inserts specialized instruments through the incision, and opens the heart to access the diseased valve.
Valve Repair and Replacement
In cases of valve repair, the surgeon removes the diseased portion of the valve, and reconstructs it using the surrounding natural tissue. For mitral valve repair, a supporting ring may be inserted to help the valve maintain its shape.
In cases of valve replacement, the surgeon removes the diseased valve completely and replaces it with a mechanical valve.
After the valve is repaired or replaced, the surgeon restarts the heart and shuts down the heart-lung bypass machine. If the breastbone was opened, the surgeon closes it. The surgeon then closes the chest incision and applies bandages to the incision site.