Another minimally invasive option for heart surgeons

Special Correspondent

CHENNAI: Heart surgeons who have always wanted to make the operation a less traumatic event, leave as small a scar as possible, now have another minimally invasive option.

A team of doctors at Madras Medical Mission (MMM) on Tuesday performed a minimally invasive coronary artery bypass grafting procedure where vessels from the patient’s femur were grafted to pave an alternative path for blood flow to the heart.

The sternal sparing beating heart procedure on a 67-year-old patient deviated from conventional methods by avoiding cutting through the chest bone (sternotomy) and instead making a key hole incision of 5 to 7 cm size under the left breast (thoracotomy).

The surgeon uses positioning and stabilising devices to perform the internal mammary artery harvest. “The potential benefits of this method include reduced hospital stay, faster healing and recovery and invisible surgical scar,” said S. Rajan, Director, Cardiac Surgery at MMM.

However, he pointed out that not all patients would be the right candidates for this procedure. For instance, the procedure is ruled out for patients with large sized hearts or peripheral vascular disease, he said. “It is important for patients undergoing bypass surgery to keep in mind that the procedure can only restore blood flow. Post-surgery, the patient has to lead a risk-free lifestyle to avoid another block,” said Joseph Sabik, Chairman of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery, Cleveland Clinic, the U.S., who is training the MMM team. Doctors said minimally invasive coronary artery bypass surgery was an evolving specialty.