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Less Invasive Heart Surgery

View original article by Jessica McCarthy here

December 4, 2012

Contact:
Christa Dean Hild
850-747-6542Open heart surgery doesn’t have to mean sawing through the breastbone and large chest scars anymore.

Dr. Lynn Seto, cardiothoracic surgeon, announced two completely robotic mitral valve repairs on two local patients, a first for this area, using the da Vinci Si HD Surgical System, according to BayMedical CenterSacred Heart Health System.

“Instead of doing conventional surgery with a full incision from the top of your breastbone to the bottom of breast bone and dividing your sternum, ‘cracking your chest,’ we’re able to do it through three tiny incisions, the largest of which is about the size of my thumb is, on the right or left side of your chest depending on what kind of heart surgery you need to have,” Seto said.

She said patients should be happy about this option.

“What this means for the patients is that they have much less pain after the operation, they have much less risk of requiring a blood transfusion, they go home quicker and most importantly they get back to their life quicker,” Seto said. “They’re able to get back to things that they love to do.”

Instead of spending months on the couch recovering, many patients are back to normal in less than a month. She also said the surgery is still open heart surgery.

“We’re still doing the same operation,” Seto said, “but it’s done in a more precise manner with much less risk to the patient in terms of blood transfusion and infections and things like that.”

Bay Medical started performing robotic surgeries in 2005 with prostate removals and later doing gynecologic and kidney procedures and treating lung cancer. Information from Bay Medical said the procedure is only available in a few cities in the Southeast and the closest option had been the University of Alabama at Birmingham Hospital.

Seto has partnered with Dr. Greg England and Dr. Reed Finney, cardiothoracic surgeons at Coastal Cardiovascular Surgeons, who already were doing thoracic robotic surgeries locally.

“It (the surgeries) went amazing,” Seto said. “It really is a team approach. … The team here has really picked it up and done great with it,” Seto said. “The patients did fabulous and we do all kinds of operations.”

She said although minimally invasive surgeries are easier on the patient, they can be more difficult on the surgeon; the robotics are changing that.

“What the robot does is give you incredible magnification,” Seto said. “You can see in three dimensions, so it’s not like you’re looking at a flat picture, and anything I can do with my hands, I can do with the robot. It’s just amazing.”