Gentler minimally invasive techniques offer many benefits, including:
- Shorter length of stay. Because patients may experience less pain and be able to cough and breathe deeply after the operation, they’re often discharged from the hospital in two to three days, compared to the typical five to 10 days for conventional heart surgery.
- Less bleeding and blood trauma. Traditional procedures required use of a heart-lung machine, which required patients to be put on anticlotting medications or given blood products.
- Less pain. Endoscopic vein harvesting has been proven to reduce the painful side effects of saphvenous vein harvesting.
- Lower infection rate. A smaller incision means less exposure and reduced infection risks.
- Faster recovery. Not using the heart-lung machine and making smaller incisions reduce complication risks, so patients can return to their normal activities sooner.
- Greater availability. Some patients are poor candidates for traditional bypass surgery because their illness is too widespread, their heart is too weak or they won’t accept blood products. Some patients may benefit from minimally invasive techniques.
Keeping the Beat
Advanced beating-heart surgery at SACMC
Stay heart healthy!
San Angelo Community Medical Center (SACMC) now offers an exciting advancement in open-heart surgery known as "beating-heart” surgery. It is called beating-heart surgry because of how it differs from conventional open heart bypass surgery. In conventional coronary artery bypass surgery, the patient is placed on a pump and the heart is stopped while bypass is completed. The heart is then restarted and the patient taken off the pump. While generally safe, this procedure may cause side effects—including stroke, mental confusion, bleeding, fever and fluid accumulation.
James Taylor, D.O., FACOS, is highly trained in performing complex cardiac surgeries with minimally invasive techniques and was a pioneer in beating heart surgeries. In addition, his performance in quality and outcome measures are better than the national average. With advanced surgical techniques and instruments Dr. Taylor performs surgery without a pump while the heart beats. This means decreased side effects and less-invasive surgery, leading to a shorter hospital stay and quicker recovery. Most patients who need coronary artery bypass can have beating-heart, or off-pump, procedures.
A Gentler Option
Many open-heart surgery patients are surprised when told that the operation involves the removal of the saphenous vein in the leg, which is used to bypass the damaged artery.
After the surgery, patients learn the painful fact that the harvesting of the vein, which at many hospitals entails a leg-long incision from the ankle to the mid-thigh, often causes greater discomfort and tenderness than the chest incision. The long incision is also known to result in complications ranging from circulatory, sensory or muscular PAIN to infections.
To alleviate the pain and potential short- and long-term complications, the Taylors utilize endoscopic vein harvesting. Utilizing a miniature television camera and tiny surgical tools, the endoscope requires only a minor incision. The cameras project on large, high-definition operating room monitors. Compared to the invasive traditional approach, endoscopic vein harvesting has reduced the severity of many of the post-operative complications by more than 50 percent.
San Angelo Community Medical Center emphasizes this minimally invasive technique in all of its bypass patients, said Dr. Taylor. “Our commitment to endoscopic vein harvesting stems directly from the fact that it significantly enhances the patient’s short- and long-term benefits,” he said. “Patients experience less pain and a quicker recovery, enabling them to getting back to what they love the most. In addition, there is significantly increased cosmetic results and it takes substantially less time to harvest the vein and close the small incisions.”
James Taylor, D.O., FACOS, board-certified general and cardiovascular and thoracic surgeon, would be happy to talk with you about your options. Call (325) 245-4511 today.