What is minimally invasive surgery?

Cardiothoracic surgery does include procedures that involve opening the chest and separating the ribs. Heart and lung transplants are two examples of invasive procedures. However, advances in technology and practice allow cardiothoracic surgeons to treat more conditions without opening the chest cavity.

A number of diagnostic procedures involve the use of scopes to see and collect tissue samples from the area of concern. These procedures include:

  • Mediastinoscopy
  • Bronchoscopy
  • Esophagoscapy
  • Video-assisted thoracic surgery (VATS)

Inserting scopes requires only a small incision through which the scope is threaded into the destination. Some treatments are, by nature, minimally invasive, such as draining air or fluid from the chest cavity. These treatments can be done with needles or by placing catheters in the chest. Other treatments that years ago required open access to the chest cavity may now be done with minimal invasion, such as treatment for aneurysms of large vessels in the chest.

Minimally invasive surgery significantly reduces recovery time. Patients may stay as little as one day in the hospital following surgery.

To learn more about minimally invasive cardiothoracic surgery, talk to one of the specialists at Premier Health.

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