The answer is yes. In about 1-5% of patients, conversion to an open standard sternotomy is performed and yes I am the surgeon who does that (I have a tremendous amount of experience with traditional surgery). We have all the necessary supplies, equipment, and personnel to rapidly perform a sternotomy if needed. Common reasons to convert would include: severe adhesions (scar tissue) in the right chest which make it hard to do robotically, injury to anything in or around the operative field, bleeding that can’t be controlled robotically, poor exposure, and others. I will never hesitate to open if its in the patient’s best interest. My highest priorities are safety and effectiveness. Although a minimally invasive approach is valued, it is never valued more than the safety of the patient.

Category: Questions about Robotic Cardiac Surgery Procedures
T. Sloane Guy, MD

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