MIAMI (CBSMiami) – February is American Heart Month. It is a time where health professionals aim to bring awareness to cardiovascular disease and maintaining a healthy heart.

One of the latest advancements in heart surgery is happening here in South Florida.

With the help of a cutting-edge robot, called the “Da Vinci,” doctors at Mount Sinai Medical Center say open-heart surgery is now less invasive, and healing time for patients is faster than ever before.

It may sound like something of the future, but Dr. Steve Xydas, Chief of Cardio Surgery, says it’s very much a reality.

“Conventional open-heart surgery means open incision. It, therefore, means a longer recovery and restrictions,” he explains.

Typically, he says it can take up to two months to be back to normal activities. With the robotic surgery, however, that time is cut in half to just three or four weeks.

That’s because, with the robotic surgery, it does not require an opening of the chest cavity, only three small incisions.

“We actually can put the robot at ports and put the instruments into the chest,” explains surgeon Dr. Roy Williams. “Then, from a remote console, the robot has the ability to mimic the motion of my hands and fingers. Whatever I can do out here, moving it in all planes, the robot can mimic that precisely,” he says.

A camera attached to the arms of the robot provides surgeons with a 3-D view.

The result is less trauma, less complications, less pain, improved cosmetic outcome, and overall quicker recovery.

Mount Sinai patient Guillermo Chea had the procedure to treat a blockage in his heart.

“I came into the surgery room smiling,” he says. “I said ‘Okay, let’s do this!’ Because it was the only chance I had.”

Chea says it allowed him to get back to his daily routine in about a week.

“I had to trust because I know the quality of the doctors that work here,” he says.

“The robot is getting much more refined,” says Dr. Xydas. “As we get more experience with the robot with heart surgery for bypass, we are then going to be looking to expand that, potentially, to valve procedures and other more complex heart operations.”

They are the only facility in South Florida utilizing the technology, and say this is a real breakthrough in now being able to provide life-saving surgery to those who are diabetic, obese, or have other health problems that would make them too high-risk for traditional open-heart surgery.

Karli Barnett

Comments (3)