At Memorial Hermann, one of the things that sets us apart is the ability of our renowned affiliated specialists to treat virtually any type of heart or vascular condition, regardless of severity or complexity. In addition to offering traditional (open) and minimally invasive heart and vascular surgeries, including transcatheter surgeries, our heart surgeons perform robotic cardiac surgeries. For patients who qualify, robotic-assisted cardiac surgery can mean significantly shorter recovery times and less risk.

What Is Robotic-Assisted Cardiac Surgery? 

Robotic-assisted cardiac surgery is a form of minimally invasive heart surgery in which the surgeon utilizes a specially designed robot to perform intricate procedures through a small incision (or incisions) in the chest. The surgeon controls the robotic arms to accurately perform the procedure. Clear, 3-D images of the heart are available on a computer screen that the surgeon uses while guiding the robotic arms.

Types of Robotic-Assisted Cardiac Surgery at Memorial Hermann

Specially trained physicians at Memorial Hermann can utilize robots to perform most cardiac surgeries, including:

  • Coronary artery bypass graft (CABG), a surgical procedure used to treat coronary heart disease in which the surgeon diverts blood around narrowed or clogged parts of major arteries to improve blood flow and oxygen supply to the heart
  • Heart valve repair and replacement, including repair and replacement of mitral and tricuspid heart valves
  • Atrial septal defect (ASD) repair, to correct a congenital (present at birth) heart defect in which a hole exists in the wall (septum) separating the upper heart chambers
  • Septal myectomy, a procedure—traditionally performed as open-heart surgery—to treat hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (thickening of the heart muscle)
  • Maze procedure, for the treatment of atrial fibrillation (AFib)
  • Tumor resection (removal of tumors of the heart)
  • Left ventricular (LV) pacing lead placement, for implementation of a pacemaker to regulate the heart rate

What Are the Benefits of Robotic-Assisted Cardiac Surgery?

Compared to traditional, open surgery, robotic-assisted cardiac surgery is much less invasive. Patients typically go home from the hospital sooner. And they can recover and return to work and normal activities more quickly. In addition, following surgery, there are minimal restrictions placed on the patient’s activities, including lifting and driving.

Who Qualifies for Robotic-Assisted Cardiac Surgery?

A patient’s treatment will depend on a number of factors, including the disease to be treated and the patient’s anatomy, and prior surgical and medical histories. The surgeon will carefully evaluate the patient to determine the best procedure for the patient. If a patient doesn’t qualify for robotic surgery, the patient may still benefit from a host of other options, including other minimally invasive procedures, offered by the heart and vascular specialists affiliated with Memorial Hermann.

What to Expect with Robotic-Assisted Cardiac Surgery

Prior to surgery, the patient will undergo a comprehensive cardiac assessment to determine if robotic surgery is the best option. The surgery is performed under general anesthesia, so the patient doesn’t feel any pain and will not remember anything from the surgery. Following surgery, the patient will generally stay in the hospital for observation for two or three nights. Most patients feel back to normal within two weeks of surgery.

Risks and Side Effects of Cardiac Surgery

Any type of cardiac surgery has associated risks, including bleeding, infection, damage to the heart, development of arrhythmia (irregular heartbeat) and stoke. But robotic surgery, as compared to traditional, open-heart surgery, can minimize some of these risks.

Scheduling an Appointment

Robotic-assisted cardiac surgery is a complex procedure that should be trusted to an experienced, specially trained surgeon. The surgeons affiliated with Memorial Hermann can assess your condition to determine if robotic-assisted cardiac surgery is right for you.

To learn more about cardiac surgery, including robotic-assisted cardiac surgery, visit Find a Doctor to schedule an appointment.

Contact Us

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