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Lenox Hill Hospital Performs Groundbreaking Robotic Heart Surgery

Lenox Hill Hospital surgeons recently performed New York’s first totally endoscopic (no incision) coronary artery bypass surgery (TECAB) on a beating heart.
The patient, a 62 year-old Queens resident was released from the hospital on the second day after surgery.  This marks the first time in the New York area that robotic bypass surgery has been performed on a patient whose heart was beating.

Robotically-assisted surgery requires only three pencil-sized holes made between the ribs. Through these holes, two robotic arms and an endoscope (a tiny camera) gain access to the heart, making the surgery possible without any incisions.  This surgical procedure is performed without a heart-lung machine and eliminates opening the chest and splitting the sternum (breast bone).

“Beating-heart bypass surgery, eliminates many of the complications associated with stopping the heart and using a heart-lung machine, such as strokes, kidney failure and respiratory distress,” said Valavanur Subramanian, MD, Chairman, Cardiothoracic Surgery.    “Lenox Hill Hospital is one of the leading centers in terms of using beating-heart surgery, as we do almost all of our surgeries on a beating heart.” 

Totally endoscopic coronary artery bypass (TECAB) is the least invasive coronary artery bypass grafting operation.  There is minimal pain and discomfort and most patients enjoy a faster return to their regular activities.  In fact, a recent study by the University of Maryland School of Medicine, shows that patients undergoing minimally invasive heart-bypass surgery using a robot had shorter hospital stays, faster recoveries, fewer complications and a better chance that their bypassed vessels will remain open.

"This is the beginning of a new era for patients who need cardiac surgery," says Nirav Patel, MD, Associate Chairman of Cardiothoracic Surgery, who performed the surgery. "We can now perform cardiac surgery with comparable success to standard procedures that require a large incision. But the difference in pain and recovery time for patients is dramatic, and that is the most gratifying thing for me." 

Lenox Hill Hospital is a pioneer in the use of robotics and other innovative technologies to perform minimally invasive heart surgery. Coronary bypass, mitral valve repair, atrial fibrillation surgery, heart failure surgery and a variety of other surgical procedures are performed at Lenox Hill Hospital using minimally invasive techniques.