One of the most common afflictions for people is heart problems, including arterial blockages. In healthcare, these have been treated traditionally via bypass surgery or angioplasty. Bypass surgery requires splitting open the breastbone to get to the heart, sometimes even stopping it, and then closing up the chest again. Afterward, it can take 4 to up to 8 weeks for a patient to recover, with risks of all sorts of complications and infections. With Totally Endoscopic Coronary Artery Bypass (TECAB) Surgery, several tiny incisions are made and surgeons operate with a robotic system, and the sternum does not have to be split open.
With TECAB, 4 or 5 slits are made in the side of the chest, and surgeons operate through a robot called the Da Vinci Surgical system. This keeps the breastbone intact, meaning recovery will be much faster. Not only that, but it is not necessary to use a heart-lung bypass machine; mammary arteries in the chest can be used, which are much stronger than vein grafts; and there is much less blood loss.
Typically, patients are in the hospital for 5 to 7 days after a bypass surgery, but with the minimally invasive procedure, it tends to be 1 to 3 days. People can recover and go back to work within a week, and pain is much easier to manage.
As simple as this procedure sounds, compared to past alternatives
it is not always an option. Since it is done by surgeons controlling the robot from another room, it requires a lot of skill and training. About 1% of cardiac surgeons are trained for it right now. The University of Chicago Medical Center is one of the places that has the robotic system.
People with certain conditions as well as those with complications from past surgeries may not be able to have a bypass done this way. Up to 3 grafts can be done with TECAB, but it can also be combined with angioplasty for a hybrid procedure if more arteries need to be cleared. TECAB is also beneficial for elderly people with weaker bones and who have a harder time recovering from an invasive procedure.
Overall, bypass surgery with TECAB results in shorter recovery as well as less scaring, compared to the long scar associated with open chest surgery. There are less complications and faster recovery time thanks to these medical treatments. Stronger blood vessels in the chest can be used rather than grafts from the leg and the patient recovers within a week. This always depends on the overall health of the patient, but if it can be done, TECAB is overall a much better alternative to open chest bypass.