Heart Surgery (Minimally Invasive)

Minimally invasive surgery can be used in place of full open-heart surgery and other surgeries of the chest, significantly reducing trauma to the patient. It is particularly beneficial for older patients who have previously had an open-heart procedure and those who want rapid return to work or an active lifestyle. 

University of Iowa Heart and Vascular Center surgeons offer minimally invasive heart and thoracic surgery to patients whose needs can be addressed with this innovative technique. These procedures can be performed for almost all diseases of the lung including lung cancer and pulmonary infections and esophageal disease such as reflux disease. University of Iowa Hospitals & Clinics offers the state's largest and most experienced physician team in these state-of-the-art procedures.

Traditional Open-Heart Surgery Entails

  • A large vertical incision in the chest and splitting of the sternum (breastbone) in half
  • Six weeks of healing before a patient can return to work or normal activities
  • Significant amounts of medication to treat early post-operative pain
  • Weight restriction of not lifting anything that weighs more than 10 pounds for 12 weeks

Benefits of Minimally Invasive Surgery

  • A single, small incision–about 2 1⁄2 inches–reduces surgical trauma
  • Excellent results, equal to those of open surgery
  • More sternal (central chest) stability, excellent for farmers and others who do physical labor
  • More cosmetic results, with scars hidden under even a low-cut blouse or v-neck shirt
  • Quicker recovery—many patients go home within days and can return to work in just a few weeks
  • Reduced pain

Types of Minimally Invasive Heart Surgery

Care Team