Tertiary care centers such as the Boston Children’s Hospital Heart Center have led the way in groundbreaking surgical innovations for years, pushing boundaries and correcting ever more complex abnormalities.
But innovation is also making a difference when it comes to more “common” procedures.
“We’re always trying to make the less complex procedures shorter and less invasive,” says Sitaram Emani, MD, director of the Complex Biventricular Repair Program at the Heart Center. “Making surgery and recovery less painful and disruptive for all of our patients is a priority.”
Emani and his fellow cardiac surgeons have pioneered a minimally-invasive “scope” approach, repairing a host of common problems normally requiring open-heart surgery — including ventricular septal defects, atrial septal defects, tetralogy of fallot, aortic valve defects, vascular rings and patent ductus arteriosis (PDA) — through small incisions.
The new method not only decreases pain discomfort, and scarring, but also gets patients in and out of the hospital in half the time.
Comparing surgical strategies
For example: let’s look at the standard strategy for vascular ring surgery.
A vascular ring is a condition in which abnormally configured blood vessels in the chest compress the airway and esophagus, causing shortness of breath, noisy breathing or difficulty swallowing food. Treatment requires division of the vascular ring to release the pressure it is exerting. The standard approach is an open thoracotomy, in which surgeons access the heart and blood vessels by opening up the side of a child’s chest and moving the ribs. After the repair, the surgeon re-aligns the ribs and closes the incision, leaving a lengthy scar.
Read the full post on Vector: Making ‘simple’ heart surgery simpler, with minimally invasive techniques
The opinions expressed in this blog post are the author’s only and do not necessarily reflect those of MassDevice.com or its employees.