Minimally Invasive Heart Surgery FAQs | Sentara Healthcare
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Who thought of minimally invasive surgery?
Since Sentara surgeons performed their first open-heart surgery in 1967 and first heart transplant in 1989, these dedicated surgeons have refined and enhanced their surgical skills, and participated in the development of technological innovations to make heart surgery less traumatic for their patients. A surgeon at the Cleveland Clinic performed the worlds first minimally invasive valve surgery in 1996. Also that year, New York University surgeons, through an FDA supported trial, introduced minimally invasive techniques for mitral valve surgery.

The knowledge and training of Sentaras cardiothoracic surgeons have always been the highest rated. What has changed in recent years are the tools available to them in service to their patients. For example, the endoscope, a tiny camera that can be threaded through even small blood vessels leading to the heart, can rotate 360 degrees for a full view of the heart and send a video image to surgeons in the operating room. It serves as the eyes of the surgeon, with hardly any incision necessary.

Does minimally invasive surgery reduce the amount of pain from conventional open-heart surgery?
One of the advantages of minimally invasive surgery is a smaller incision, which means less healing must take place after surgery. When there is less healing to do, your body can heal much faster. However, you will still experience some pain at the incision and at the surgical site. But because it is a smaller incision, you could experience less pain than you might otherwise experience.

What are the disadvantages of minimally invasive cardiac surgery?
One of the biggest disadvantages is that minimally invasive cardiac surgery isnt for everyone yet. Surgeons are still discovering new ways to apply the techniques of minimally invasive cardiac surgery to benefit their patients.
Minimally invasive cardiac surgery takes longer in the operating room, but results in a shorter time in the hospital and a speedier recuperation. 

When can I drive a car again?
Only your surgeon can give you a precise answer, based on your medical history and surgical procedure.

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