Jefferson University Hospitals

Frequently Asked Questions

Why would I choose a minimally invasive procedure instead of a traditional surgery?

In many cases, minimally invasive procedures offer some significant advantages. Those advantages include less trauma during surgery and fewer complications after. With minimally invasive procedures, you typically enjoy a shorter hospital stay (or none at all), a faster recovery and less scarring. In fact, with many of these procedures, surgeons use Band-Aids® for dressings!

Why should I choose Thomas Jefferson University Hospital for my minimally invasive procedure?

Jefferson surgeons have been performing – and pioneering – minimally invasive procedures for over a decade. Today, we have many of our surgeons have extensive experience in minimally invasive diagnostic and treatment procedures covering a wide range of medical specialties. We have experts in advanced endoscopy in our Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology. We have leading urologists who routinely use da Vinci® Surgery for prostatectomy. And our Jefferson Hospital for Neuroscience team includes surgeons who use minimally invasive techniques to treat hard-to-reach tumors of the brain and spine using stereotactic radiosurgery, cranial base surgery and endoscopic neurosurgery.

What is the difference between laparoscopic surgery & keyhole or Band-Aid® surgery?

The terms "laparoscopic surgery," "keyhole surgery" and "Band-Aid® surgery" are interchangeable. All refer to a family of minimally invasive procedures that use small incisions and some kind of laparoscope, or high-tech camera, to guide surgeons in performing the procedures through the tiny openings. These techniques can be used for a number of procedures, including common operations like removal of the gall bladder, removal of part of the colon and removal of the kidney.

How have Jefferson operating rooms been updated for minimally invasive procedures?

Jefferson has a range of surgical suites that have been outfitted with the tools and technologies needed for minimally invasive procedures. Jefferson Hospital for Neuroscience, for example, has state-of-the-art equipment for stereotactic radiosurgery. Similarly, the Jefferson Minimally Invasive Cranial Base Surgery and Endoscopic Neurosurgery Center uses the latest digital operating rooms – the first of their kind in the Delaware Valley.

Is robotic mitral valve repair considered open heart surgery?

Yes. We will put you on the heart-lung machine. The heart is paused by a medication called cardioplegia. The surgeon will use a catheter-based system to perform an endoscopic robotic mitral valve procedure (or similar procedure) through the peripheral arteries and veins.

What is a TEE & how does it impact surgery of the mitral valve?

Your health team will use a TEE (transesophageal echocardiogram), an essential part of a valve surgery, before surgery and in the operating room before and after the procedure. We also use advanced 3D imaging to understand what is wrong with the valve.

How long does robotic mitral valve repair take in the operating room?

The length varies depending on the patient and the complexity of the procedure. The actual surgical part of the operation takes only three to four hours. However, the preparatory time for the procedure and the initial recovery time means you may be in the operating room for five to six hours. The total time a patient is on the heart-lung machine is no more than two hours in most cases.

How are the first two days of recovery after robotic mitral valve surgery?

Many patients tend to have some incisional pain during this period, but resolves in some (not all) within two days. Our focus will include making you comfortable with appropriate pain medications. We may remove drainage tubes or pacing wires (temporary pacing wires). We also use that time to manage any complications that may occur, such as bleeding. Most patients leave the intensive care unit the day after surgery.

How long is the recovery after robotic mitral valve surgery?

Most people remain in the hospital for two to three days after surgery. However, that can vary depending on your individual situation. Most patients are 80 to 90 percent recovered within one to two weeks, but some patients take longer to recover. There are no special precautions after surgery (unlike standard heart surgery done through the breastplate) other than to avoid driving until off narcotic pain medication. Some patients have returned to full activity within one to three weeks, but some take longer. In general, it’s advised to let your employer know you might need up to one month off.

Will I experience any pain after robotic mitral valve surgery?

Yes, but pain should be much less for robotic mitral valve surgery compared with traditional breast bone surgery. In fact, most pain will be relieved within a few days for some patients. Most are off narcotic pain medication within a week or so although results vary.

What will my follow-up care be like?

It depends on your condition and the procedure you underwent. You will likely need to see a cardiologist for an echocardiogram at 6 months, 1 year, and yearly for direct feedback on the repair and alert your medical team if any problems arise that might require treatment.