McLaren Health Care
da Vinci Cardiothoracic Surgery

Cardiothoracic Procedures Performed through da Vinci Surgical System®

Cardiothoracic surgery refers to surgery on the heart, lungs or esophagus. When medication and catheter-based treatments cannot relieve symptoms, surgery is the recommended treatment for many cardiothoracic conditions, including but not limited to mitral valve prolapse, atrial septal defect and coronary artery disease. Mitral valve prolapse is when one or both of the flaps that are supposed to open and close to control blood flow to the heart do not work properly and allows small amounts of blood to flow backwards into the heart valve. Atrial septal defect is a defect between the left and right chambers of the heart that is congenital - you are born the condition. And, coronary artery disease occurs when arteries that supply blood to the heart become hard and narrow because cholesterol and plaque buildup in the inner walls of the artery(ies).  

Facing traditional cardiac surgery or open surgery to treat disorders in the chest cavity can be a frightening experience. It may be difficult to focus on next steps but you may have several choices to make, such as which hospital and surgeon to go to, and which procedure to choose. Learning as much as possible about your options, including minimally invasive alternatives to open surgery may ease some of your concerns.

Surgery is generally the most effective way to treat disorders of the heart, lungs and esophagus. But traditional open surgery has a number of drawbacks caused primarily by the large incision required, splitting the breastbone and spreading the ribs to access the chest cavity. In addition to an 8 to 10" scar down the center of your chest, splitting of the breastbone leads to a long recovery time of eight to twelve weeks as well as a long delay before you will return to normal daily activities.

Fortunately, less invasive options are available for patients facing cardiothoracic surgery. Many cardiothoracic surgeons now recognize the benefits of small incisions made between the ribs to perform coronary bypass or make repairs to the heart or esophagus by using thoracoscopy - the insertion of a miniaturized video camera between the ribs. But this approach has limitations and is not often appropriate for more complex cardiac procedures.

Cardiothoracic Robotic-Assisted Procedures


  • Bilateral IMA mobilization
  • Coronary artery bypass surgery (CABG)
  • Lobe resection
  • Heller myotomy
  • Lymph node biopsy
  • Mediasteinal mass removal
  • Mitral valve replacement
  • Paraesophageal hernia repair
  • Wedge resection

Robotic Surgery Risks

As with all types of surgeries, there are risks associated with robotic surgeries and results vary from person to person. Be sure to talk about your specific situation with your physician and surgeon before deciding if robotic-assisted surgery is right for you. 

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