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What Is Robotic Heart Surgery? (video)

Learn the benefits of minimally invasive robotic surgery

Learn the benefits of minimally invasive robotic surgery

James Hemp, MD, a cardiothorasic surgeon at Scripps, explains the difference between traditional open heart surgery and robot-assisted heart surgery. Dr. Hemp also discusses the types of heart conditions that can be treated with minimally invasive robotic surgery.

Video transcript

What is robotic heart surgery?

Robotic heart surgery is an approach to heart procedures that is already established and that can be accomplished with much less invasion of the body. There is no opening of the breastbone and no spreading of the ribs.

What kind of heart procedures can be done robotically?

Robotic heart surgery procedures include mitral valve repair replacement, surgery for heart arrhythmia, specifically atrial fibrillation, and tricuspid valve disease.

What are the biggest differences between robotic heart surgery and traditional open heart surgery?

The major difference is not having to open the breastbone. Other differences that aren't immediately apparent, but are important to me [as the surgeon] include the fact that I can see the mitral valve much better than if I do the bigger incision. It may sound paradoxical, but the view of the mitral valve when I do robotic surgery is excellent. It allows me to be more sophisticated in my approach to repairing the valve, which turns out to be important.

Watch more Ask the Expert videos now for quick answers to common medical questions.