Coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG) is a surgical procedure performed to treat coronary artery disease. In CABG, arteries or veins (from elsewhere in a person’s body) are grafted to the coronary arteries or moved without bringing its own blood supply, and instead, a new blood supply grows after it is placed. As a result, the blood flow can bypass the blocked artery to improve the blood supply and coronary circulation to the heart. Traditional CABG surgery is usually performed with the heart stopped, but minimally invasive techniques are now available to patients that allow CABG to be performed on a beating heart, also known as “off-pump.”
At Albany Med, our cardiac surgeons, Dr. Harry DePan and Dr. Stuart Miller, with 50 years of combined experience, are performing one of these procedures called minimally invasive cardiac surgery for coronary artery bypass grafting (MICS CABG). MICS CABS is a new approach to coronary revascularization—the process of restoring the blood flow to the heart by way of bypassing blockages or obstructions in the coronary arteries. It involves only a small incision in the chest to access the heart and to address the blockage in the artery without having to cut the breastbone or sternum. Such a coronary bypass procedure uses video-assisted robotics to help the surgeon operate in such a small area. It is much less invasive than traditional bypass surgery.
Potential Patient Benefits of Minimally Invasive Heart Bypass Surgery
For patients, the MICS CABG is believed to have the same results as traditional bypass surgery but can have the added benefits of a shorter hospital stay, faster recovery, less bleeding, a lower rate of infection and less scaring. This procedure is also an attractive option for patients with certain risk factors that prohibit a median sternotomy—incision is made along the sternum, after which the sternum is divided or “cracked” to provide access to the heart and lungs for coronary artery bypass surgery.
If you are facing open-heart surgery, discuss with your doctor the best option for you.