A cutting edge medical procedure, touted as the “future of heart surgery”, is now available in Clay County, Florida. According to Dr. Nathan Bates, the director of cardiothoracic and vascular surgery at Orange Park Medical Center, the new procedure is a big deal because it’s a minimally invasive way to fix the mitral valve – a valve located on the left side of the heart that helps transfer blood to other regions of the heart.
Traditionally, repairing the mitral valve requires extensive surgery, which includes breaking the sternum in order to reach the heart. The recovery period can be long, and may include complications. With the new surgical robot, recovery is much shorter because smaller incisions are made through the rib cage.
Although surgeries performed using the robot are still considered open heart surgeries, the procedure is a lot less invasive. During the “new” type of surgery, a surgeon sits across from the operating table and uses the robot to perform the surgery. Every move the doctor makes, the robot makes with its four arms suspended over the patient. The surgeon has a clear image of what’s happening inside the heart the entire time.
The robotic version of mitral valve surgery leads to less scarring and a shorter recovery period. The robot was used for the first time during a surgical procedure on April 14, and has been used a few times since then. According to Dr. Bates, the risk of complication or death are about the same for both types of surgery, and urges those requiring mitral valve surgery to consult with their doctor or cardiologist to see which method is the best for them.
If you’re interested in surgical technology, sign up for CNI’s Surgical Tech School.