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Endoscopic Coronary Artery Bypass

Coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) surgery is a major heart operation performed on more than a half-million people each year. Typically, the recovery time is four to eight weeks after surgery. However, less invasive techniques offered by Barnes-Jewish & Washington University Heart & Vascular Center are changing the face of this type of surgery.

Minimally Invasive Surgery

Endovascular coronary artery bypass can significantly reduce patient discomfort, shorten the length of stay and speed recovery in selected patients. This procedure is robotically assisted and requires no incisions or heart-lung machine bypass.

To perform the procedure, a surgeon inserts an endoscopic camera and surgical instruments through tiny ports in the patient’s skin. The surgeon sits at a computer console that displays the surgical field and holds handles that look just like regular surgical instruments. The surgeon's delicate motions are mechanically relayed to a computer control system. The digital information is then filtered to remove all tremors.

Currently, this endoscopic surgery is available only for patients who need a single bypass (one artery to repair). However, within a few years, the technique may be available to other heart patients.

Ralph Damiano, MD, chief of cardiac surgery at the Heart & Vascular Center, is a national leader in robotically assisted techniques and is the first surgeon to perform endoscopic bypass surgery in North America.

To make an appointment with a Washington University heart or vascular specialist at Barnes-Jewish Hospital, call 855.925.0631.