Minimally Invasive

Southern Ohio Medical Center is leading the way in advanced heart technology by becoming the only organization in the region to perform minimally invasive procedures during heart surgery.

“Minimally invasive heart surgery allows the patient to undergo a heart procedure without the extensive opening necessary to get to the areas that need repair. It also allows the patient a much faster recovery time,” said Henry Childers, M.D., cardiothoracic surgeon of SOMC Heart and Vascular Services.

Minimally invasive heart surgery is performed through a small incision (no more than four inches) made in the patient’s chest cavity. By using this procedure, no bone or muscle is cut and the patient incurs a smaller incision area, which reduces pain and scaring. This process also reduces the risk of infection, causes less bleeding and decreases the length of stay in the hospital.

“Because we don’t cut bone during the procedure, recovery is drastically reduced from the average time of eight-weeks during traditional heart surgery,” Childers explained. “With this procedure, recovery time is as little as two weeks and we’ve been able to get patients back on their feet in as little as 24-hours after their surgery.”  

“I feel 100 percent better,” said Maxine Ruby, a recent recipient of the minimally invasive procedure. “I have a lot more energy. I can do my housework and can watch my grandson play ball. I couldn’t do that before the surgery.”

Childers explained that heart valve surgeries, including valve repairs and valve replacements, are the most common types of minimally invasive procedures; however, the process can also be used for coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) surgery, epicardial lead placement and atrial fibrillation.

“We are continually staying ahead of the pack on techniques and technology at SOMC,” he said.

Ruby said her recovery time was extremely fast. “I had my surgery on Tuesday and was home by Saturday. I was up and moving around and already felt great. I’m now in rehab and walking on the treadmill.”

Childers specialized in minimally invasive procedures during training at Cornell Medical Center in New York and at the University of Pennsylvania. He has continued to perfect this technique over the years, leading the way in the region. For more information on this procedure, please contact SOMC’s Heart and Vascular Associates at ext. 8772.