Is Aortic Valve Laparoscopic Surgery the Best Option?

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Laparoscopy Surgery of the Aorta Overview

When a patient discovers that surgery may be necessary, they are often concerned about the invasiveness of the procedure. This may be especially so when it comes to certain types of heart surgery, like that involving the aortic valve. As a general rule of thumb, the more invasive the surgery, the longer the recovery period and risk for infection. However, less invasive methods are becoming more widely available. Depending on the reasoning for the procedure, aortic valve laparoscopic surgery may be an option and may involve other beneficial technologies, such as robotic assisted procedures.

How is the Procedure Different?

Laparoscopic surgery involving the aortic valve is similar to that of other laparoscopy surgeries. The physician makes small incisions in which an appropriate sized camera is used to assist during the procedure. The surgeon can then see, typically via a computer screen, the exact location and what he or she is doing at all times. This allows for more precision and accuracy throughout the surgery. Rather than having to open up the chest cavity, small incisions are created in the chest wall. In some cases, special instruments, such as robotic technology may also be utilized.

What About the Risks?

The risks associated with laparoscopic surgery of the aortic valve are generally the same as the other methods, but decreased. This may include major and minor damage to other bodily structures, irregular heart beat and stroke. Although these complications are rare, they can lead to death. Other potential risks are posed by anesthesia. During the procedure, the patient is under a general anesthetic and this may lead to excessive bleeding, medication or an allergic reaction, infections, blood clots and difficulty with breathing. However, some of the risks associated with anesthesia can be significantly reduced and/or eliminated by simply informing the physician of any medications, herbal supplements or allergies prior to the day of surgery.

How Does Recovery Differ from That of Other Procedures?

Statistics show that patients that had aortic valve laparoscopic surgery rather than the open heart procedure heal faster. They are generally able to resume activities sooner and require a shorter hospital stay. Both of these factors can greatly contribute to the decline in problems which may be experienced as a result of cardiothoracic surgery. However, individual recovery times will differ by the individual and may be affected by age, pre-existing health conditions and several other factors.

Other Considerations

The use of these technologies can help prevent post-operative infection and complication but this does not guarantee that problems will not arise. In addition to this, not all patients will be good candidates for laparoscopic procedures. Your physician should discuss surgery options with you prior to scheduling the surgery. It is important to express any questions or concerns that you may have about the laparoscopic aortic valve surgery to the physician at this time.


Aortic Valve Surgery-Minimally Invasive. Medline Plus. U.S. National Library of Medicine. Updated 13, March 2009. Viewed 29, November 2010.