Dr Bipeenchandra Bhamre, Cardiac Surgeon
In an attempt to move open heart surgical procedures to the category of minimally invasive surgery, robotically assisted heart surgery a latest technique has come into the foray of medical science. This surgery is showing promising results in terms of morbidity and patient satisfaction. With the help of a specially designed computer console to control surgical instruments on thin robotic arms, the cardiac surgeon performs the heart operations.
With the help of this new and unique technology, surgeons are able to perform certain types of complex heart surgeries with smaller incisions and precise motion control. This helps receive improved outcomes and rapid recovery with early discharge. While an open heart surgery involves an eight inch long cut in the chest; Robotic Heart surgery helps with a 6cm incision. The benefit of this improved technique includes minimal scarring, less pain and bleeding along with decreased risk of infection and lesser trauma to the patient.
Robotic assisted heart surgery benefits few heart diseases
Coronary artery bypass surgery is usually performed in patients who require one or two bypass grafts. This is done on the LAD artery and its branches, as many patients with bypass approach. Robotic Surgery is not recommended to patients who have triple vessel disease and require 4 to 5 grafts. Another most preferred robotic assisted surgery is Mitral valve repair and its results are amazing as the patients are ready for discharge within 4 days of the operation. When the mitral valve does not function properly, it must be repaired or replaced. Robotic assisted heart surgery helps to avoid opening the breastbone and the ribs also need not be spread to perform the procedure. Atrial Septal Defect closure is a birth defect that causes a hole in the wall between the heart’s upper chambers.
Complete repair and recovery is essential to perform robotic heart surgery hence fewer surgeries are preferred. Moreover, not every heart patient can opt for a robotic surgery; diagnostic tests are conducted to determine if the patient is suitable and must be an adult. Based on the heart disease, its severity, medical history of the patient and lifestyle followed the decision will be taken. The risks related to an open heart surgery and robotic surgery is similar.
How is it performed?
To perform robotic heart surgery, a highly trained and experienced surgeon and equally experienced team is required. Just like a pit crew in racing, this team must function together flawlessly to achieve a high level of performance. With robotics, the surgeon sits at a console in the operating room controlling the instruments while looking at a high-definition 3D image from the camera inside the patient. The surgeon controls the robot at all times. It does not do anything without the surgeon directing it (just as a pilot controls an airplane).
If compared with traditional open heart surgery, the benefits of robotically-assisted surgery include:
- Smaller incisions with minimal scarring
- Less trauma to the patient, including less pain
- Shorter hospital stay (usually 3 to 4 days)
- Decreased use of pain medications
- Less bleeding
- Decreased risk of infection
- Shorter recovery and quicker return to daily and professional activities