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Robotic Cardiac Surgery

Minimally invasive robotic surgery may be used to treat many cardiac conditions with increased precision and safety. Traditionally, cardiac surgery involves a large incision down the center of the breastbone, called a sternotomy. The scarring and discomfort associated with this extensive incision have been a longstanding but necessary part of cardiac surgery. Our advanced robotic system allows us to perform complex operations through incisions that are much smaller than those used with traditional surgical approaches.

Evidence suggests that these smaller incisions ease recovery in several ways:

  • Less blood loss
  • Less pain
  • Better scar healing
  • Shorter hospital stays
  • Shorter recovery time
  • Quicker return to work

How Does the Robotic-Assisted Surgery Work?

diagram of the chest, showing where small access points are made to reach the heartSmall port-hole incisions are made between the ribs to access the heart.

The surgical robotic system is comprised of four components:

  • a surgeon console
  • a computerized control system
  • two instrument arms
  • a fiberoptic camera

Two instrument arms are inserted into small incisions in the patient’s chest. The surgeon sits at the console and uses the fiberoptic camera to view the heart in 3D. The surgeon's hand motions are relayed to the instrument arms, which serve as the surgeon’s "hands" as the procedure is performed.

Why Use the Robotic System?

The robot enhances the surgeon’s ability to perform minimally invasive cardiac surgery in several ways. The robotic system’s accurate translation of the surgeon's hand motions allows for much higher degrees of freedom and precision than could be achieved with traditional hand operated instruments.

In addition, the advanced camera provides magnified, high-definition, full-color images of the heart and its structures in three-dimensions. This visualization provides much greater detail of the heart than is possible with the surgeon's naked eye.

Cardiac Robotic Procedures

Cardiac procedures that can be performed with minimally invasive robotic techniques at Johns Hopkins include:

Patient Referrals

If you are a patient with isolated mitral insufficiency with or without atrial fibrillation who would like to be evaluated for this minimally invasive approach to mitral valve repair, ask your doctor for a referral to The Johns Hopkins Hospital.

If you are a doctor and would like to discuss or refer a patient who may be a good candidate for robot-assisted mitral valve repair or other cardiac procedures, please feel free to contact our offices directly at 410-955-2800.