Millions of Americans have atrial fibrillation, or heart rhythm disorder, and they may or may not even know about it. During atrial fibrillation, at times, the top chambers of the heart do not properly beat. The results could include blood clots, heart attack, and stroke. Many people suffer from strokes since blood will pool in the atria of the heart, turn into a clot and then eventually be pumped out where it could travel to the brain.
Patients who do have atrial fibrillation will need to go through some type of treatment in order to correct the problem. For some cases, medication or short therapies can be used. In many cases, the problem requires surgery.
Standard Atrial Fibrillation Surgery
Without more modern technology, the only way the surgery could be done (and is often done still) would be open heart. This means the chest is opened, the breast bone is cut and the rubs are spread. The heart is then operated on with a radiofrequency device and a pacemaker will most likely be implanted. This is major surgery that includes pain, long recovery times, and numerous different complications.
It is an extremely invasive surgery that can be very difficult on many patients.
Robotic Surgery Using the da Vinci Robot
With this minimally invasive procedure, only a few small incisions are made on the side of the patient’s ribs. The chest will not be opened and the ribs will not need to be spread. Through the small incisions, the surgeon will use the da Vinci robot to access the heart and perform surgery. By performing this procedure using the robot, the patient has:
- significantly lower recovery times
- less time spent in the hospital and in intensive care
- less loss of blood
- less chance of infection
- a lower chance of major complications
Additionally patients who have atrial fibrillation surgery with the da Vinci robot, indicate that they are able to go about their regular activities much quicker than those who have open heart surgery.
What is the da Vinci Robot?
This high tech machine uses high definition visualization and very small instruments that can be used for surgery through even the smallest of incisions. The arms of the robot are controlled by the physician and it mimics the doctor’s hand movements precisely. This allows the surgeon to reach areas within the body without having to make large incisions and without seriously damaging skin and tissue.
Atrial fibrillation is a common condition that many people deal with on one level or another. If a patient’s condition warrants surgery, the minimally invasive surgery means much less blood loss, much less pain, much shorter recovery, and much lower risks of complications. With this type of high-tech surgery, patients will recover much more quickly and will not have to deal with negative side effects as well as high chances of infection.
Robotic Atrial Fibrillation Surgery in Southern California
Dr. Daniel Bethencourt specializes in minimally invasive, video assisted cardiothoracic surgical procedures. For more information about our advanced minimally invasive procedures or to schedule a consultation with one of our surgeons, call the Bethencourt Group at 562-988-9333.