Heart Care Goes Small Scale
Expect big results from personalized, minimally invasive surgery
Almost nothing can be scarier than hearing your doctor say you need heart surgery. New technology and advancements, however, allow surgeons to repair a patient’s heart through a smaller incision—a procedure known as minimally invasive heart surgery.
“Heart surgery today isn’t the same as heart surgery a decade ago,” says Paul Massimiano, M.D., a heart surgeon and medical director of cardiac surgery at Washington Adventist Hospital in Takoma Park.
When a minimally invasive approach is used, patients receive the same operation as they would with a traditional, “open” surgery. The only difference is in the approach and tools used. Patients, who once had to endure a long incision scar down the center of their chests and a painful, lengthy recovery, now have a small, 5- to 6-centimeter chest incision.
What that means for you or your loved one is a quicker recovery with less pain and a faster return to normal activity. In addition, patients who have minimally invasive heart surgery spend less time at the hospital.
Leading The Way
“Patients who aren’t familiar with this type of surgery find it hard to believe they can go home after as little as a day or two,” Dr. Massimiano says.
Washington Adventist Hospital has been providing comprehensive heart care to the Washington, D.C., region for nearly 50 years. Dr. Massimiano and his team of experienced surgeons helped pioneer the development of minimally invasive valve surgery.
“People have a choice when it comes to heart surgery,” Dr. Massimiano says. “They want to know where they should go and if they’ll have access to the most up-to-date and advanced techniques available.”
At Washington Adventist Hospital, the experienced and coordinated team of cardiac and intensive care doctors, nurses, technicians and rehabilitation therapists works with heart surgeons to provide each patient the best, least-invasive treatment with a personalized and caring approach through every step of treatment and recovery.
Understanding Your Options
Washington Adventist Hospital’s surgical team carefully compares the advantages and disadvantages of minimally invasive techniques with traditional surgery techniques for each patient. Not everyone is a candidate for minimally invasive surgery. It is important for prospective patients to talk to their doctor about each option to decide what is best for them.
“Former patients get back in touch with me to say that their heart surgery allowed them to travel to France, see their son get married, or welcome a grandchild into the world. That’s a good feeling,” Dr. Massimiano says. “Heart surgery can be a frightening prospect, but, ultimately, it can restore the heart to good health, which means an opportunity to get back to a normal life.”