Classified as an ablation procedure, Mini-maze procedures involve using hot or cold energy sent through a catheter to destroy malfunctioning tissue. Traditional sternotomies open up the chest and require sawing open the breastbone to access the heart. In contrast, Mini-maze procedures use small incisions made between the ribs on each side of the chest and don't require a heart-lung bypass machine - meaning the procedure is performed on a beating heart. It also means that mini-maze postoperative stays are relatively short, averaging three to four days.
However, precautions still need to be taken after a mini-maze procedure. It can often take several months for the procedure to take full effect, so if you have a Mini-Maze procedure, you will be placed on a short course of anti-arrhythmic drugs and a blood thinner. You should be able to resume normal activity, including work, in about two to four weeks after surgery.