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da Vinci® Cardiothoracic Surgery

Performing the first open heart surgery in 1958, St. Joseph's Hospital Health Center is a leader in cardiac care. A pioneer in prevention, detection and the treatment of heart disease, St. Joseph’s performs more than 800 open heart procedures per year, many of them minimally invasive with the assistance of the da Vinci® Surgical System. With da Vinci®, surgeons gain enhanced vision, precision, dexterity and control.

An open heart surgery that used to require sternotomy (splitting of the breastbone and ribcage), can now be done through a few tiny incisions between the ribs with da Vinci®. Compared to traditional open surgery, minimally invasive da Vinci® surgery provides a quicker and safer operation, less recovery time, pain and risk of complications and shorter hospital stays – on average three to four days compared to six to seven days with traditional surgery. With robotic surgery, there is also no broken bone to heal so most patients are fully recovered within one month. Quicker recovery time means getting you back to your life – and the activities you enjoy – faster.

The da Vinci® Surgical System is commonly referred to as a robot, but the device is actually run by the surgeon. Controlled remotely, the robot, in essence, enhances the surgeon’s eyes and hands, increasing visualization and instrument dexterity, for procedures that require small incisions such as robotic coronary bypass or mitral valve repair.

To operate da Vinci®, the surgeon sits at a console separate from the patient and views a 3D image of the surgical field, while controlling instruments that mimic the complex motions of the human hand. The surgeon’s technique is actually improved by the daVinci® robot’s ability to scale motion and filter any tremor, thereby allowing very precise movements.

By offering direct 3-D visualization, full range of motion and an intuitive sense of control for surgeons, those that use da Vinci® know their procedures to be less invasive and more precise than traditional surgery, resulting in fewer complications, less pain and blood loss.

St. Joseph’s was the first to acquire and use the da Vinci® robotic surgical system in 2005 and today offers a variety of cardiothoracic procedures with da Vinci®, including

  • Atrial Septal Defect (ASD) Repair
  • Coronary Artery Bypass: Single vessel
  • Mitral Valve Repair
  • Myxoma (tumor) Removal
  • Severe Mitral Regurgitation
  • Three-vessel Coronary Artery Disease treatment (hybrid)
  • Tricuspid Valve Repair
  • Valve Prolapse

Unfortunately, at the present time, patients requiring aortic valve surgery, multiple valve procedures, or a combination of valve and coronary bypass surgery are not candidates for the robotic approach. As technology advances, however, this will certainly change.