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The University of Chicago Medicine - Comer Children's Hospital

Pediatric Minimally Invasive Cardiac Surgery

Cardiac surgeons at the University of Chicago Medicine Comer Children's Hospital are operating on the hearts of children through tiny openings in the chest, eliminating the need for sternotomy--a large incision through the breastbone (sternum). This method of surgery, called minimally invasive cardiac surgery, is a remarkable improvement over traditional, open-chest procedures. Surgeons use sophisticated thin instruments and miniature cameras to perform the operations.

Less Scarring, Faster Recovery

The benefits of minimally invasive surgery are sometimes the most evident in children. Because this advanced technique does not alter the breastbone and minimizes damage to healthy tissue, children have less post-surgical complications as they grow.

The benefits of minimally invasive cardiac surgery can be many, including:

  • A few small incisions, instead of a long incision through the breastbone. Minimally invasive cardiac surgery requires little or no cutting of the breastbone or ribs.
  • Less damage to tissue and muscle
  • Less pain
  • Less scarring
  • Less blood loss
  • Shorter stay in the hospital
  • Faster return to normal activities
  • Elimination of the use of a cardiopulmonary bypass (heart-lung) machine, in some cases. By avoiding the bypass machine, patients are not exposed to the extra risks associated with bypass, such as clots.

A Good Option for Many Types of Heart Problems

Our team has experience treating many types of congenital and acquired heart problems using minimally invasive techniques. Some conditions that can be successfully treated with minimally invasive surgery include:

  • Atrial septal defect
  • Mitral valve regurgitation or stenosis
  • Patent ductus arteriosus
  • Sinus venosus defect
  • Tricuspid valve regurgitation or stenosis
  • Vascular ring disorders
  • Ventricular septal defect