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Minimally Invasive Cardiac Surgery

Our surgeons are experts in performing minimally invasive cardiac surgery — a practice that allows us to treat your heart without making a large incision. We can treat valvular and structural heart conditions as well as arrhythmia with minimally invasive approaches that offer a quicker recovery and fewer complications.

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Small incisions, big benefits

Open heart surgery is performed to treat serious heart conditions. Yet, this surgical approach isn't for everyone because it places a lot of stress on the body. The good news is that there are other surgical routes we can take to treat your heart.

Minimally invasive cardiac surgery involves making a small incision on the right side of your chest. This allows us to perform the latest techniques for getting your heart back on beat, like the Maze surgical procedure to treat irregular heart rhythm and transcatheter aortic valve replacement.

Minimally invasive cardiac surgery touts several key benefits over open heart surgery, like:

  • Less blood loss
  • Lower risk of infection
  • More comfortable quality of life
  • Quicker recovery times 
Cardiologist Omar Ali, MD, FACC performing a surgery on a heart and vascular patient in Lowell General Hospital's Cath Lab with the help of a nurse.
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Minimally invasive surgery can be the right choice for addressing a variety of heart conditions, especially when they affect your valvular and structural heart health:

Cardiac arrhythmia
Heart valve diseases
Valvular regurgitation
Valvular stenosis


The type of care you receive will depend on your heart condition and health history. Recovery from minimally invasive cardiac surgery usually takes about 4 weeks, compared to 12 weeks or more with open heart surgery.

Maze procedure for arrhythmia

Arrhythmia is a condition where the heart isn’t beating properly — either too fast, too slow or irregularly. If you’re living with an arrhythmia, your doctor may recommend the Maze procedure. This “hybrid” therapy combines minimally invasive surgery and catheter-based interventional cardiology.

During the Maze procedure, we use the power of radiofrequency (heat energy) to remove small pieces of heart tissue. When the incisions heal, they form scars that help return your heart to a healthy rhythm.

Heart valve surgery

Heart valves are like a toll booth, opening and closing to guide blood flow through the chambers of the heart. When these valves can’t open or close properly, it can lead to heart valve diseases like valvular stenosis (trouble closing completely) or valvular regurgitation (blood leaking and flowing in the wrong direction).

Our heart surgeons specialize in minimally invasive procedures designed to treat heart valve diseases, including:

  • Transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR): We can give you a new aortic valve using just a catheter and a small incision.
  • Mini-thoracotomy: This approach involves a 2-inch incision between the ribs to give us access to your heart valves. 
  • Hemi-sternotomy: This procedure is similar to a mini-thoracotomy, except the incision is near your breast bone.
Anasuya Gunturi MD, PhD talks with patient at Lowell General Hospital's Women's Wellness Center clinic appointment.
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