A thoracotomy is performed by surgeons in order to get better access to the many thoracic organs, namely the heart, lungs, and esophagus, or for access to the thoracic aorta or the anterior spine. Therefore, a minithoracotomy is any thoracotomy involving less muscle division than the classic posterolateral thoracotomy (which is an incision through the back, and is often widened with rib spreaders). Dr. Ciuffo performs this minimally invasive procedure for patients in need of aortic, tricuspid, mitral, aortic valve surgery, atrial myxoma and atrial septal defect (ASD) repairs or other suitable coronary cases.
To perform a minithoracotomy, Dr. Ciuffo will not need to break any bones. He will make a surgical incision through a thin muscle layer between the ribs. The avoidance of a split in the breast bone and ribs gives less pain, less chances of wound infection, less bleeding and a much more reliable healing of the surgical wound. To minimize pain, your doctor will inject local anesthetic in the nerves between the ribs (intercostal nerve block).
After the Procedure
After Dr. Ciuffo completes the surgery, the scar will be barely visible below the neck and away from the midline towards the side of the chest. For women, this scar may even be hidden in the skin fold underneath the breast. Patients can resume their normal activities after the procedure because there are no restrictions in driving a car or carrying weights other than the patient’s own comfort level.
Dr. Ciuffo and the Minimally Invasive and Bloodless Heart Surgery Program
Dr. Ciuffo is dedicated to helping you understand minithoracotomy. If you have any questions about minithoracotomy or the steps we will take to ensure the procedure goes well, feel free to contact us at (330) 588-4676 or visit our contact page online.