Michigan Heart & Vascular Specialists Michigan Heart & Vascular Specialists, Burns Professional Building, 560 W. Mitchell Street, Suite 400, Petoskey, Michigan 49770, Phone: 888.326.2490
Affiliated with McLaren Northern Michigan
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Minimally Invasive Surgery

What is the difference between minimally invasive valve surgery and traditional open heart surgery?
Surgery Comparison
Diagnosing Heart Valve Disease

What are the benefits of minimally invasive valve surgery?
What are the symptoms of valve disease?
Am I a candidate for minimally invasive valve surgery?
Second Opinions


State-of-the-art, minimally-invasive heart valve surgery is available at McLaren Northern Michigan and requires only a small incision. That means a smaller scar and a shorter recovery time.

What is the difference between minimally invasive valve surgery and traditional open heart surgery?
During traditional open heart surgery to repair or replace a heart valve, the surgeon makes one large main incision in the middle of the chest and breastbone to access the heart. A heart-lung machine takes over the job of circulating blood throughout the body during the procedure, because the heart must be still and quiet while the surgeon operates.

McLaren Northern Michigan offers patients minimally invasive valve surgery as an alternative to open-chest heart valve surgery. McLaren Northern Michigan offers more experience in minimally invasive open heart surgery than anywhere in the state of Michigan, using minimally invasive techniques that are not available anywhere else in our region, maximizing outcomes, safety, and patient comfort.

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Surgery Comparison
Minimally invasive valve surgery does not require a large incision or cutting through the entire breast bone as in the case of traditional open-heart surgery. The surgeon can gain access through one of three small, less visible incisions (sometimes called "ports"). These incisions are made either between the ribs or a smaller incision in the chest as well as one small incision in the groin. The surgeon repairs or replaces the diseased valve through one or more of the ports looking at the heart directly or through a small tube-shaped camera. Minimally invasive valve surgery is as effective as open-heart heart valve surgery, but with a smaller incision and many other benefits.

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Diagnosing Heart Valve Disease
Physicians may use some of the following examinations to detect heart valve disease:

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What are the benefits of minimally invasive valve surgery?
Numerous studies have demonstrated that a minimally invasive approach offers patients a number of advantages, including:

  • Less pain. Since the incision is much smaller and the breastbone remains intact or less affected than with traditional open-heart surgery, most patients report that they have less pain.
  • Lower risk of complications. The minimally invasive heart valve surgery approach greatly reduces the possibility of complications related to a full incision through the breastbone.
  • Faster recovery and return to normal activity. Most patients recover more quickly after a minimally invasive valve procedure. Patients typically spend less time in ICU after surgery, and are able to return home sooner. Many patients return to work and normal activities within 4-8 weeks. In comparison, it takes an average of ten weeks recovery with an open-heart surgery procedure.
  • A smaller, less visible scar. Most patients (99%) are very pleased with the cosmetic results of the procedure. Unlike a larger scar in the middle of the chest that patients would receive with traditional open-heart surgery, the smaller scar is hardly visible.

Scar Comparison

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What are the symptoms of valve disease?
You may be experiencing some or all of these symptoms:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Feeling tired (fatigue) during exertion
  • A cough, especially at night when laying down
  • An irregular or abnormally fast heart beat (palpitations)
  • Swollen feet or ankles
  • Pain or tightness in the chest
  • Dizziness

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Am I a candidate for minimally invasive valve surgery?
Your primary care physician will evaluate whether you are a candidate for minimally invasive heart valve surgery. Factors that will need to be considered with your doctor are:

  • The benefits and risks of each type of treatment
  • Your age
  • Your specific medical condition (minimally invasive heart surgery is not indicated for patients with moderate to severe peripheral or aortic atherosclerosis, a history of thoracic trauma, aneurysm of the ascending aorta, or for people suffering from severe aortic regurgitation)
  • Medications you may be taking
  • Your lifestyle needs and goals

Patients who may be candidates for this surgery:

Patients undergoing:

  • Aortic valve replacement
  • Mitral valve repair / replacement
  • Tricuspid valve surgery
  • Intra-cardiac myxoma resection
  • Patent foramen ovale repair
  • Atrial / ventricular septum defects repair
  • Ablative maze procedures for atrial fibrillation

Patients who may not be able to have this type of surgery:

  • Moderate to severe peripheral or aortic arthrosclerosis
  • History of thoracic trauma
  • Aneurysm of the ascending aorta
  • Severe aortic regurgitation
  • Severe peripheral atherosclerosis
  • Other contraindications for cardiopulmonary bypass

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Second Opinions
Have you been told you need heart surgery, but are wanting a second opinion? It's important to have a clear understanding of your condition and possible treatment options so that you can make an informed decision. McLaren Northern Michigan offers heart valve experts that will spend the time to help you fully understand all of your options - and determine if minimally invasive heart valve surgery is right for you.

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Michigan Heart & Vascular Specialists McLaren Northern Michigan