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Bypass, Valve Replacement, Minimally Invasive Cardiac Surgery (MICs), & Others

Our Heart & Vascular Services offer patients a wide range of leading-edge and diagnostic treatment options for heart surgery. We treat bypass, valve replacement, and other common heart conditions. These include the following:

When you are treated at our center you can expect the most advanced cardiovascular care from our board-certified cardiologists and a team of specialists that includes surgeons and imaging specialists. Our specialists work together to diagnose and develop your individual treatment plan.

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Minimally Invasive Heart Surgery (MICS)

For more traditional kinds of heart surgery, doctors need to cut through your breastbone to reach your heart (this kind of procedure is also called a sternotomy). Patients who have open heart surgery, for example, have their breastbone cut so surgeons can reach their heart.

In minimally invasive heart surgery, doctors make small cuts (or incisions) between your ribs on the right side of your chest. Making these small cuts means doctors don’t need to cut through your breastbone to reach your heart. Many patients have less pain and recover faster from minimally invasive surgery than other types of heart surgery like open heart surgery. Doctors may also be able to see your heart better during minimally invasive surgery than during open heart surgery.

Just like with open heart surgery, your surgeon may need to stop your heart for a short time to reroute blood flow from your heart. Your surgeon may use a heart-lung bypass machine to do this.

Our Cardiovascular Center surgeons are nationally recognized and offer the most experienced team in the Mountain West in minimally invasive cardiac surgery (MICS). We are the only medical center in Utah to offer MICS; our cardiothoracic program has built a successful and growing track record by using innovative and less invasive surgical techniques. The experienced precision of our surgeons is backed up by the most advanced imaging technologies available.

About Minimally Invasive Surgery

Is Pre-Operative Evaluation Different With MICS? 

In general, all patients who are being considered for cardiac surgery are thoroughly screened. First, we must make sure that you need surgery. Many patients avoid visiting a heart surgeon because they fear they will quickly be taken to the operating room even if they don’t need surgery. It’s our job to make sure we know when to operate, but also when not to operate. This requires experience and sound judgment so we give the best advice to our patients and their families.

We recognize that each patient is different. We are prepared to deal with any situations that are unique to your specific health condition.

Conditions Treated with MICS

Minimally invasive heart surgery (MICS) provides a unique approach to many traditional cardiac surgery operations. At University of Utah Health, we perform the following operations using minimally-invasive techniques:

  • Mitral valve repair or replacement
  • Aortic valve repair or replacement
  • Tricuspid valve repair or replacement
  • Modified maze procedure
  • Atrial septal defect repairs
  • Patent foramen ovale repairs
  • Limited coronary artery bypass grafting
  • Epicardial lead placement

Are Complications of MICS Different from Traditional Heart Surgery?

Any type of heart surgery has some risks, regardless of which type of surgery you’re having. Complications include infection, bleeding, stroke, electrical conduction problems, organ failure, arrhythmias, and death. Fortunately, these complications are fairly rare, even with open heart surgery.

Many types of heart surgery can be performed without using a cardiopulmonary bypass machine. But valvular surgeries need a heart-lung machine. To use this machine, doctors will place tubes in a patient’s artery and vein in their groin. Some patients may feel numbness or have drainage around the area where the tube is place near their groin. Some patients may also have temporary numbness under their right breast where doctors insert more tubes.

If you have MICS, your chances of having complications are usually lower compared to other types of heart surgery. This is because there is less risk of bleeding and infection. You will also be able to start walking earlier and return to your normal activities.

Who Can Have Minimally Invasive Heart Surgery?

Most minimally invasive cardiac surgeries are best for patients who have valvular heart disease including aortic, mitral, and tricuspid valve stenosis (narrowing) or regurgitation (leaking). In addition, minimally invasive cardiac surgery can be used to treat atrial fibrillation. It can also be used to close atrial septal defects and patent foramen ovales.

Some patients who need coronary artery bypass surgery may also be able to have MICS.