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What is minimally invasive or endovascular surgery?

Mark J. Russo, MD
Thoracic Surgery (Cardiothoracic Vascular)

Rather than making a large incision through the breastbone (sternum) to gain access to the heart, minimally invasive valve surgery uses sophisticated instruments to perform the surgery through a smaller incision at the side of the chest while still using standard surgical techniques. These include a mini-thoractomy (though the rib spaces) and a hemi-sternotomy (a partial incision through the breast bone).

An endovascular stent graft repair is a treatment for aneurysms of the descending (thoracic and abdominal) aorta. It is similar to the approach used for a cardiac catheterization of the coronary arteries. This procedure requires only small incisions in the groin. Then the surgeon inserts a catheter through the femoral artery in the groin and with the use of x-ray guidance and specially-designed instruments, the aneurysm can be repaired from inside the aorta by inserting a tube, called a stent-graft. This is possible because the tube, or stent graft, is delivered through the catheter in a collapsed state and then expanded at the site of the aneurysm. The tube replaces and reinforces the diseased aortic wall, ensuring continuity of blood flow while preventing further expansion of the aorta, aortic rupture, and/or aortic dissection.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.