Robot Assists Minimally Invasive CABG Surgery


April 8, 2008

April 8, 2008 - Doctors at Boston Medical Center (BMC) led by Chief of Cardiac Surgery Robert Poston, M.D., have been performing minimally invasive, robotically-assisted bypass surgery, in a procedure that allows physicians to gain access to the heart with several small incisions, unlike conventional bypass surgery, which requires the chest to be opened with a 6- to 10-inch incision at the breastbone (sternum.)

Using small incisions between the ribs, the arms of the robot and a small camera are placed to allow the surgeon to look through lenses on a computer console that provide a 3-dimensional, 10-times-magnified image inside the patient's body.

The surgeon's hands control the instrument's arms to perform the procedure. The robot's 'wristed' instruments effectively mimic the movements of the surgeon's hands and wrist, providing the surgeon with flexibility and precise motion control as he harvests one or more blood vessels from inside the chest cavity, to redirect one end to the heart surface beyond the blockage, bypassing the blockage, to restore blood flow to the heart.

In addition to smaller incisions (and smaller scars), the patient benefits are fewer side effects and complications, less pain, reduced risk of infection and faster recovery.

BMC has become one of only one of nine hospitals across the country, and the only hospital in Boston, to offer robot-assisted minimally invasive coronary artery bypass, the most advanced treatment available for coronary artery disease.

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