Cardiothoracic Robotic Surgery

Getting a cardio or thoracic health diagnosis and recommendation for surgery can be scary. We here to help. The clinical staff at St. Rita's knows that a well-informed patient is an empowered patient. That's why we provide the following information about the minimally-invasive procedures our cardiothoracic surgeons are able to perform using the state-of-the-art daVinci® surgical system. Robotic-assisted surgery offers numerous advantages to both surgeon and patient including:

  • elimination of heart-lung bypass machine during surgery
  •  improved clinical outcomes
  • shorter hospital stay
  • lower risk of wound infection
  • less post-operative pain
  • less blood loss during surgery
  • less scarring
  • shorter overall operative time
  • lower rate of post-operative complications
  • faster return to normal daily activities

Some of the Conditions Expertly Trained Surgeons Can Address Robotically Include:

Coronary Artery Disease
Coronary artery disease (also known as hardening of the arteries) is the most common form of heart disease in the United States. Despite new treatment options, many patients will still require the surgical bypassing of blocked arteries. This involves taking a healthy blood vessel from another part of the body and patching it into the heart to move blood past a blockage in the existing heart blood vessel.

Using the robotic system, the surgeon enters the chest through small incisions to harvest blood vessels and perform the bypass surgery without making a large incision. Surgery can often be completed without the need for additional pump machines. This leads to less risk of infection, smaller incisions, less pain and a faster recovery. Additional benefits include reduced blood loss and a shorter hospital stay. Although not all surgeries for CAD can be performed with robotic assistance, many can.

Mitral Valve Regurgitation

Mitral valve regurgitation is a condition in which one of the major valves of the heart does not work correctly, causing heart dysfunction. Over time this can lead to the heart becoming overworked, which then leads to more problems with the valve. Eventually this can lead to heart failure and death. If non-surgical repair has not worked, the best available treatment is surgery. Mitral valve repair potentially offers a number of significant, life-long benefits as compared to valve replacement. These include a lower risk of death, a better chance of long-term survival and more freedom from future valve operations. The least invasive approach to cardiac surgery, the "keyhole" approach or port-access technique used in robot-assisted surgery, is available for some types of cardiac and thoracic procedures like mitral valve repair.

Lung Cancer
Lung cancer is the second most common non-skin cancer in both men and women. When a lung cancer is diagnosed, the extent of the cancer will also be determined. Many lung cancers are amenable to surgical treatment, and this can often be performed in a minimally invasive way using robot-assisted surgery. Using this technique, the surgeon enters the chest through small incisions and removes the portion of the lung affected by the cancer. This allows for cancer control with less risk of infection, smaller incisions, less pain and a more rapid recovery of remaining lung tissue. Patients who receive robot-assisted lung cancer surgery usually experience a faster return of pulmonary function, a shorter hospital stay and a quicker return to regular activities.