Minimally Invasive Aortic Valve Replacement


TALK TO AN AORTIC NURSE


The aortic valve is one of the four valves in your heart. It controls the flow of oxygen-rich blood from your heart to the aorta to the body. If your aortic valve is not working properly, you may need surgery to repair or replace it.

To replace the aortic valve, a heart surgeon will make a surgical cut (incision) so they can see and operate on the heart. There are three main types of incisions for this surgery.

  • Full or median sternotomy incision
  • Mini hemi-sternotomy incision — a minimally invasive option
  • Right anterior minithoracotomy incision — a minimally invasive option

Full or Median Sternotomy Incision

A full or median sternotomy is the traditional incision option. A heart surgeon makes this incision down the middle of the chest and through the breastbone (sternum). It is usually six to eight inches long.

full-median-sternotomy
Full or median sternotomy

Minimally Invasive Surgical Incisions

A mini hemisternotomy and a right anterior mini thoracotomy are minimally invasive incisions. They are an option for select patients with isolated aortic heart valve disease.

Minimally invasive options have several benefits, including:

  • Lower chance of wound infections
  • Better cosmetic outcome
  • Less pain
  • Faster recovery

Talk with your surgeon to see if a minimally invasive incision is right for you.


Mini Hemisternotomy Incision

A heart surgeon makes a cut down the middle of the chest and through part of the breastbone (sternum). It is usually three to four inches long.

mini-sternotomy
Mini hemisternotomy

Right Anterior Minithoracotomy Incision

A heart surgeon makes a cut in the right side of the chest. It is usually two to three inches long. The heart surgeon repairs the aortic valve through the incision with long instruments.


right-anterior-minithoracotomy
Right anterior minithoracotomy

Meet the Minimally Invasive Aortic Valve Replacement Team

Northwestern Medicine Cardiovascular Institute is a nationally recognized destination for those who require highly specialized cardiovascular care.