Atrial Myxoma can be polypoid, round, or oval in shape. They have a gelatinous consistency with a smooth or lumpy surface and are usually white, yellowish, or reddish. Please continue to scroll down to see what the atrial myxoma looks like before, during, and after a minimally invasive atrial myxoma surgery performed by expert minimally invasive heart surgeon Dr. Giovanni Ciuffo.
The following picture shows you what they actually look like. This was the case of a 46-year-old lady that was diagnosed after getting a routine echocardiogram. The echocardiogram showed a large lump in the middle of her right atrium. She did her research about minimally invasive atrial myxoma surgery and then came to see me to have it removed with a scarless surgical approach. The excellent surgical exposure you see in the picture was obtained through a small incision in the skin fold underneath the right breast. You are basically looking directly inside the right atrium.
The Atrial Myxoma is often bulky and friable. The main concern is that it can cause serious symptoms such as strokes and heart attacks when fragments of tumour break off and travel to the heart or the brain. If it is very large and mobile it can also cause heart malfunctions by literally “plugging” up the heart valves. For all these reasons, an Atrial Myxoma needs to be removed surgically as soon as possible to avoid irreversible damage to the heart, the brain or other distant organs that can be affected by embolized fragments of tumour.
The next picture shows you the same case after the atrial myxoma has been removed along with the portion of the atrial septum it was attached to. The remaining hole where the myxoma was is patched closed (white circular patch), pretty much with the same technique used to patch an ASD closed.
Once the patch is securely in the place, the right atrium is sutured closed and the operation is completed. The next picture shows you the surface of the heart before we start closing the skin incision.
This lady returned to her home two days later, completely cured and with an excellent cosmetic result. The surgical scar was in fact completely hidden in the skin fold underneath the right breast. She went back to work ten days later. Please bear in mind that this minimally invasive expertise is not available everywhere. If you are told that “minimally invasive ASD repairs or myxomas cannot possibly be done through a minimally invasive approach”, please feel free to share this website and related videos with your doctor.
She was also very glad she took the time and effort to research the best operation for her condition. Most cardiac surgery centers do not have the necessary technical expertise to offer minimally invasive atrial myxoma surgery. The alternative would have otherwise been a 12″ long incision up and down her chest, through her breast bone, with a longer recovery time and a frankly unnecessary lousy cosmetic result for the rest of her life. It is well worth the travel to a specialized center, even if it is out of state.
Know your options and do not be shy about demanding the best treatments for you. It’s your body, your heart, your life!
Click on the images below to view videos describing a minimally invasive atrial myxoma resection techniques.