June 20, 2007 —Robotic surgical technology available at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center avoids long-term use of blood thinners and problems such as infection by repairing the mitral valve instead of replacing it.
Cedars-Sinai is the largest mitral valve repair center in the Los Angeles area, completing approximately 100 repairs of different types annually.
Alfredo Trento, M.D., director of the Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery at Cedars-Sinai, has performed 70 robotic mitral valve repair surgeries over the past two years, a surgical volume that ranks fourth in the U.S. among cardiovascular surgeons who perform this highly skilled surgery.
"With robotic technology, surgeons can visualize the mitral valve in such a way that they gain a much better understanding of the valve's pathology when compared to traditional sternography. We can actually see inside the valve … it's amazing technology," said Trento.
The mitral valve opens and closes, controlling the blood flowing into the left side of the heart. When it becomes damaged, it can't completely seal the heart's left ventricle which causes the heart to work harder and leads to potential complications like congestive heart failure.
Mitral valve repair involves delicate reconstruction of valve tissues. Traditional repair (sternotomy) is performed by sawing open the breastbone and spreading the ribs apart to expose the heart. The less invasive procedure, which requires only a few very small incisions under the right side of the breast, uses Intuitive Surgical's daVinci Surgical System.
In addition to improved visualization, Trento said the robotic procedure has less risk of infection, less blood loss and faster post-hospital recovery than traditional surgery.
For more information: www.csmc.edu