Traditionally, heart surgery has been performed using a long incision through the sternum (breastbone) to reach the heart. Today, select patients can benefit from minimally invasive cardiac surgery to treat many heart conditions including mitral valve disease, aortic valve stenosis and atrial fibrillation.
In minimally invasive heart surgery, our team uses small incisions to reach the heart. Using thin instruments and tiny cameras, surgeons perform procedures that offer many benefits over traditional heart surgery, including:
- Smaller incisions with minimal scarring
- Less pain
- Shorter hospital stays and faster return to normal activities
- Minimal blood loss and less need for transfusion
- Reduced risk for infection and complications
Who is a candidate for minimally invasive heart surgery?
Our multidisciplinary team — including cardiothoracic surgeons, interventional cardiologists and imaging experts — works together to determine the best treatment approach for each patient based on several factors, including the patient’s age, medical history and lifestyle. Before recommending a surgical approach our team may also opt for additional cardiac testing.
Our team will always opt for the least invasive option that provides the safest and most successful outcome for you. This means, in some cases, traditional surgery will still be recommended.
What minimally invasive procedures do Froedtert & MCW cardiac specialists perform?
Our team of interventional cardiologists and cardiac surgeons has a high level of experience in minimally invasive heart procedures, including procedures not always performed elsewhere. Minimally invasive heart procedures performed by our team include:
- Coronary bypass surgery — Possible when only one or two bypass grafts is needed.
- ASD/PFO closure — Closes a hole in the septum (wall) between the atria (the two upper chambers of the heart). This hole — an atrial septal defect (ASD) or a patent foramen ovale (PFO) — is a congenital defect.
- Maze procedures for atrial fibrillation (arrhythmia) — Corrects an abnormal heart rhythm.
- Mitral valve surgery — Repairs or replaces the mitral valve. These less invasive options include transcatheter mitral valve repair using MitraClip.
- Aortic valve surgery — Repairs or replaces the aortic valve. Our team of surgeons is home to one of the fastest-growing transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) programs in the country.
In addition, as academic physicians, our specialists are involved in researching new ways to treat heart disease. They often take part in national clinical trials, giving our patients access to breakthrough treatment options not available at other area health systems. Learn more about current clinical trials we participate in.
Chicago Man Benefits From Minimally Invasive Heart Surgery
Dr. Robert Boxer had a history of heart problems, including a leaky heart valve. He traveled from the Chicago area to seek out the expertise of Dr. Michael Salinger, who repaired the valve. Dr. Boxer was home for dinner the following evening.
Inspired by Her Care, This Patient Became a Nurse
When Nicole collapsed from an undetected heart condition, our vascular surgeons had to amputate her legs because of her compromised blood flow. With the help of prosthetics, Nicole learned to walk again. Now, Nicole is a nurse at Froedtert Hospital.