SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — The cardiac team at St. Joseph’s Health is helping lead the nation in minimally invasive heart surgeries and they’re about to add a new procedure to the list.
NewsChannel 9’s Nicole Sommavilla sat down with one of the surgeons to learn more.
“We do close to probably 10 different minimally invasive surgeries,” said Dr. Zhandong Zhou.
Dr. Zhou started doing minimally invasive procedures at St. Joseph’s Hospital about 15 years ago. By now, he says the hospital has done a few thousand.
Next month, he and other surgeons will start using the convergent procedure to treat people with persistent atrial fibrillation. The procedure is a hybrid between minimally invasive surgery and EP (electro physiology-cardiology).
“The catheter-based operation does not have as good effectiveness and sometimes dangerous for some bad complications,” said Zhou. So instead, surgeons will work through an incision that’s only about an inch or two long.
We can make a small incision, about a couple inch just below the breastbone to get to the back part of the heart to get access to that part of the tissue.Dr. Zhandong Zhou
With procedures like these, they don’t have to break any bones, and because the incisions are smaller, there’s less pain for the patient and a much faster recovery time.
Zhou says minimally invasive surgeries typically take 20 to 30 percent longer and they’re harder for surgeons, so not everyone does them. But those who take this route say it’s worth it.
“In the United States, the percentage of minimally invasive surgeries is about 30 percent but in European countries, it’s about 50 percent. So I think that there’s a lot of room for growth.”