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Treatment Options

Why your doctor may recommend the minimal incision approach instead of open chest surgery

During the more than 15 years that this option has been available, numerous studies have demonstrated that a minimal incision approach offers patients like you a number of advantages, including:

  • Less pain
    Since the incision is much smaller and the breastbone remains intact or less affected than with full open chest surgery, most patients report that they have less pain.
  • Lower risk of complications
    The less invasive approach eliminates the possibility of complications related to a full incision through the breastbone.
  • Faster recovery and return to normal activity
    Most patients recover more quickly after a minimal incision procedure. They typically spend less time in the intensive care unit (ICU) after surgery, and are able to return home sooner. Many patients (46%) return to work within 4 weeks; by the eighth week, 71% are back at work or resuming routine activities. In comparison, it takes an average of 10 weeks to return to normal activity after an open chest procedure.
  • A smaller, less visible scar
    Most patients are very pleased with the cosmetic results of the procedure. Unlike a larger scar in the middle of the chest, the smaller scar is hardly visible.

Your doctor will evaluate whether you are a candidate for a minimal incision procedure instead of conventional open chest surgery.

Most patients report that they would choose the minimal incision approach again if they found themselves facing the same situation.