The short answer is a lot! These procedures require a fairly large team including a surgeon (me), an anesthesiologist, a perfusionist (to run the heart-lung machine), a scrub nurse to assist, and a circulating nurse to help support the team. Additionally, we will often have “extra” folks including a cardiothoracic surgery fellow who is between 6-10 years out from medical school and already a fully trained general surgeon. We often have two perfusionist and a cardiac anesthesia fellow who is already a fully trained general anesthesiologist. There are sometimes folks that are observing cases in order to learn and educate themselves.
Be assured, however, that it will be me doing the critical portions of your operation although I cannot do it without my team supporting. The team looks a lot like a football team (11 people or more!) and like a football team, you can’t just have a quarterback alone on the field! More important than my own technical skills in performing your operation is my ability to build and maintain a winning surgical team. You should know that we understand that your surgery is not just a game but we do play to win no different than an NFL team!
If you want to see our team members who will be involved in your operation, click on this link: Weill Cornell/NewYork-Presbyterian Robotic Heart Surgery Team
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