An aortic heart valve replacement uses an animal, human or mechanical heart valve to replace one in your heart that releases blood to the body. Like most heart valve operations, aortic valve surgery is typically an open-heart procedure. Under certain conditions, Lima Memorial Heart and Vascular Institute takes advantage of new developments in surgical technology to replace valves using minimally invasive surgery.
Traditional aortic valve replacement surgeries require the breastbone (sternum) to be split down the middle using a procedure known as a median sternotomy. This gives the surgeon full access to the heart and chest cavity, which is what is commonly referred to as open-heart surgery. Learn more about open heart surgery at Lima Memorial.
With the newly developed minimally invasive procedure, our surgeons reach the heart through a small incision between the ribs, often only two inches long. They use special, very small instruments and cameras to reach and operate on the heart through the smaller opening while watching a video monitor. This “mini-valve” procedure allows us to operate on the heart without “opening” the chest – typically our patients’ greatest fear. This new procedure can reduce postoperative pain and scarring, and improve recovery time, and our surgeons are increasingly using the minimally invasive procedure.
The normal recovery time after aortic heart valve surgery is usually four to eight weeks, and may be shorter if minimally invasive surgery techniques are used. Typically, patients begin practicing basic self care immediately after surgery and are encouraged to resume standing, walking, eating, and drinking shortly thereafter.
To contact Lima Memorial Heart and Vascular Institute or learn more about aortic valve replacement surgery, call 419-224-5915.