Aneurysm Treatments in Modern Medicine

Treating aneurysms has come a long way since the early days of surgical medicine. Conditions that would have been fatal several decades ago are now often survivable by procedures that would have been inconceivable at that time. One particular example we will look at here is an Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm (AAA). When first diagnosed with an Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm, many patients are scared to ask “what is an aneurysm?” It’s a natural hesitation, especially since the condition is often perceived as lethal. Not only does Dr. Ciuffo pride himself of his surgical technique and innovative methods, he also considers a patient’s understanding and clarification of their condition to be of the highest priority. If you’ve been diagnosed with this condition and are struggling to ask questions, take heart: there are health care professionals who care. What is an Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm? Simply put, the aorta is the main conduit, or pipeline, in the body. It sends blood flowing to every organ and every part of the body through its side branches. When the aorta expands, or “balloons”, over time to a dangerous size, it becomes essential that it be repaired surgically. Failure to address the issue in time could lead to an aortic dissection, also known as a “blowout”. What makes this an abdominal issue, as opposed to a heart issue, is the location of the distress in the aorta. The part of the aorta that is closer to the heart – roughly from the solar plexus and higher – is considered the thoracic aorta. The part of the aorta below that area is considered the abdominal aorta. It...

Home Care After Heart Surgery

While your body has a natural healing process that tends to kick into gear after a traumatic experience, certain kinds of wounds and procedures take more of a toll on your health than others. One of the most serious surgeries you can undergo is heart surgery. Because your heart is vital to your health, anything that disrupts it can have a serious impact on the way your body functions. With this in mind, it’s perhaps not surprising that the recovery time from heart surgery generally spans several weeks to a few months, even when performed by a skilled surgeon such as Dr. Ciuffo. There are important steps you’ll need to take when recovering from surgery and practicing home care after surgery in order to regain your health. Wound Care One of the most important parts of home care after surgery is paying close attention to the wound. It’s important to keep the cut as clean and dry as possible. This includes skipping baths or showers for a few days to allow the wound time to heal a bit. You also need to watch out for any abnormalities that could indicate an infection, such as an increase in drainage or oozing, the edges of the incision pulling apart, and a warmth or redness around the cut. Any of these issues could be cause for alarm, particularly if they are accompanied by a fever of over 100° F. Reach out to Dr. Ciuffo’s staff for advice if your wound exhibits any of these issues. Expect the Pain While you are likely to be prescribed some kind of pain medication while recovering...

Can a Minithoracotomy Be a Minimally Invasive Procedure?

Can a Minithoracotomy Be a Minimally Invasive Procedure? A traditional thoracotomy is a procedure that allows a surgeon to access the chest cavity. When performing a minithoracotomy as a minimally invasive procedure, Dr. Ciuffo is able to reduce risk and recovery time. Thoracotomy A traditional thoracotomy involves an incision into the pleural space of the chest. It is often performed using spreaders to separate the ribs and breastbone, which may result in broken bones. The trauma of the surgery to the body makes it a difficult one for those with compromised immune systems or other medical conditions to undergo. This may limit the options for elderly or immune-challenged patients. A thoracotomy procedure can lead to weeks of recovery following heart surgery.   Minithoracotomy Dr. Ciuffo takes a different approach to heart surgery. When performing a minithoracotomy, he does not employ the use of rib spreaders or other equipment that leads to broken bones or a large incision. The incision is much smaller and in women may even be hidden beneath the fold of the breast. The surgical incision is made through the thin layer of muscle between the ribs. This minimally invasive minithoracotomy provides less risk for infection and a shorter healing time. It may be appropriate for patients who require aortic, tricuspid, mitral, aortic valve surgery, atrial myxoma, and atrial septal defect (ASD) repairs. Minimally Invasive Procedure Once the minimally invasive procedure is complete, the scar will be barely visible below the neck and away from the midline, near the side of the chest. Patients may resume normal activities soon after the procedure, depending upon their own comfort...

Inoperable Diagnosis? Get a Second Opinion

Inoperable Diagnosis? Get a Second Opinion Many patients come to us for a second opinion after receiving an inoperable diagnosis. Inoperable heart surgery may be made possible by new and advanced techniques. Don’t hesitate to seek a second opinion. Dr. Ciuffo may be able to help when other doctors have decided the risks are too high. Inoperable Heart Surgery Many patients are diagnosed as high risk because of factors like age, frailty, or other diseases. Some patients with factors prohibiting heart surgery can receive successful life-saving procedures with minimally invasive techniques. High-risk patients should seek a second opinion on their inoperable heart surgery diagnosis. It’s impossible to say whether minimally invasive surgery is an option for you without a full examination and diagnosis, but the chances are good that minimally invasive techniques can help you or a loved one.   Inoperable Diagnosis An inoperable diagnosis is often based on the doctor’s opinion of the patient’s ability to handle the shock of traditional heart surgery. Traditional surgery often results in broken ribs and massive incisions that take weeks or months to completely heal. With the shock of the invasion of the body, combined with the risks of infection, traditional heart surgery is extremely difficult for even healthy patients. If age, other diseases, or frailty are factored in, it may seem like an inoperable diagnosis is sound. However, with minimally invasive techniques, the risks are significantly reduced. Second Opinion Don’t be afraid to question the doctor who has given you a diagnosis. Ask why the cardiologist believes the diagnosis is “inoperable,” and have them write down their answers. Ask what the...

Advantage of Minimally Invasive Heart Surgery

Advantage of Minimally Invasive Heart Surgery New technologies are emerging all the time. As open heart surgery treatments advance, there are new options and choices facing patients. As you move toward open heart surgery as a treatment, consider all your options and weight the benefits and risks with your medical team to decide what the best course of action is for you. Open Heart Surgery It used to be that open heart surgery was a last-resort risk. The recovery time was slow and the procedure often left behind large scars which took a long time to heal. Traditional open heart surgery involved breaking through the ribcage, usually through the sternum itself, to reach the heart. This left the patient with a long, hard and often painful recovery. New techniques and technologies allow for a much less invasive option for most patients. Sternotomy Traditionally, open heart surgery, or sternotomy, meant entering the chest through a large incision, breaking the sternum to reach the heart, and performing the surgery. The potential problems included inflammation, swelling, pain, a longer recovery time, and infection. The s hock to the heart and the blood loss made it more difficult for patients to recover fully and heal efficiently. Fortunately, minimally invasive heart surgery options are now available. Minimally Invasive Heart Surgery With minimally invasive heart surgery, there is a much smaller incision, which can often be hidden beneath the fold of a breast. Since the incision is made between the rib bones rather than entering through the sternum, recovery time is much shorter and less painful. The risk of infection is also greatly lowered. The...

Inoperable Heart Disease – Tips to Find a Solution

Inoperable Heart Disease-  Tips For Finding Solutions A diagnosis of inoperable heart disease can be discouraging. A heart condition may be difficult to live with. Minimally invasive bloodless heart surgery may offer options that may not be possible with traditional methods. The treatment options available are dependent upon a number of conditions, including both your own physical health and the scope of experience of the doctors dealing with your case. Inoperable Heart Disease Each patient’s case is decided individually. There are steps you’ll need to take when facing a diagnosis of inoperable heart disease. It’s important not to panic or lose hope. Even if your case isn’t a good candidate for surgical options, there are many treatments available that can extend and improve the quality of your life.  Ask questions. Request that the medical doctor in charge of your case and your surgeon explain exactly why your case is considered “inoperable.” Be sure to write down the details of their answers.  Obtain copies of all of your diagnostic records, including imaging- CAT scans, catheterizations, echocardiograms, EKG and other reports.  Gather copies of all the reports pertinent to your case, including blood test and other results. Heart Disease Heart disease is not a completely-understood condition. There are many aspects that doctors have to make their best educated and trained guesses about the potential outcomes of treatment options. While you’re gathering your records, reach out for a second opinion.  Seek a second opinion. Gather your information and bring it to the new doctor, so that they may evaluate your case fully and to avoid repeating expensive testing.  Ask your doctor to...