UChicago Medicine is home to a thriving minimally invasive cardiac surgery program that offers a wide range of surgeries performed through small incisions in the chest. Our heart surgeons use robotic devices, sophisticated thin instruments, miniature cameras and hybrid techniques to repair the heart without having to make a long incision and cut through the breastbone.

Our minimally invasive and robotic cardiac surgery program is internationally recognized for our surgeons’ experience, the full spectrum of procedures we offer and our innovative techniques.

Here at the University of Chicago, we have probably the most comprehensive robotic heart surgery program, where we treat multiple problems of the heart with a very, very less invasive approach using small incisions in between the ribs, without the need to open the breastbone. And this ranges from coronary artery disease, patients needing coronary bypass surgery, to patients needing intracardiac therapies for valvular problems, such as mitral valve regurgitation, all the way through patients needing surgery for arrhythmia problems. We have a very strong collaboration with our electrophysiology department, and have done some exciting things in terms of treating ventricular and atrial arrhythmias as well. Not to mention some of the less common problems, such as pericardial constriction, tumors of the heart, adult congenital problems. These are all treated surgically without requiring opening of the breastbone using the robotic approach.

Minimally invasive procedures provide several benefits compared to traditional, open approaches. Patients typically experience shorter hospital stays, less pain, minimal scarring and a much quicker recovery. More than one type of heart problem may to be treated at the same time. For example, a patient who needs mitral valve repair and bypass surgery can have both problems treated during the same operation without opening the chest.

Minimally invasive and robotic heart surgeries are performed in the Center for Care and Discovery - Hyde Park. The surgical suites in the hospital feature sophisticated diagnostics, leading-edge medical and robotic technologies and state-of-the-art imaging capabilities. Hybrid operating rooms unite the surgical suite and the cardiac catheterization lab, enabling surgeons and interventional cardiologists to perform multiple procedures in one setting.

Minimally invasive cardiac procedures performed regularly by UChicago Medicine surgeons include:

  • Implantation of epicardial pacing wires to boost the pumping action of the heart in heart failure patients.
  • Procedures to treat congenital heart conditions, such as atrial septal defect.
  • Single and multiple vessel coronary artery bypass surgery, to improve blood flow to the heart and to reduce chest pain.
  • Surgery to correct atrial fibrillation, a common type of arrhythmia.
  • Valve repair and replacement.

Why Choose Minimally Invasive Heart Surgery?

Time spent in the hospital can sometimes be reduced by as much at 50 percent, compared to open procedures.

The operation is performed without splitting the breastbone, reducing the risk of post-surgical complications and infection.

Depending upon the case, the operation may be performed through four to five dime-size incisions, or with the addition of a 2-inch incision at the side of the chest. Traditional open-heart procedures require a longer incision down the center of the chest.

Tylenol or aspirin are often enough to manage pain after hospital discharge.

Avoiding the bypass machine decreases the risks for neurological complications and stroke.

Heart Surgery Resources

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Celebrating 500th Robotic Cardiac Surgery

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