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Minimally Invasive Heart Procedures: How Did This Change Patient Treatment? - Dr. Raczkowski

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Dr. Raczkowski discusses how minimally invasive surgeries have changed patient treatment.

Dr. Raczkowski:
Minimally invasive robotic surgery encompasses many different specialties, not just cardiac, but certainly GYN, general surgery, urology. It has revolutionized the treatment of prostate cancer because of the high complication rate of removing the prostate gland because of cancer. Men shun that operation to the detriment of their own health because of the complication rates and the very severe change in the quality of life following that.

The da Vinci® robot has revolutionized that treatment because the complication rate is so low because of the precise nature of that procedure. There’s been a revolution in terms of treatment of early stage prostate disease, especially in young men.

Those patients who are so reluctant to have that procedure done now are having it done as the primary therapy and are having a huge benefit in terms of their longevity, the impact it has on their families, because they don’t have to worry about where Dad’s going to be anymore.

In GYN, patients are undergoing hysterectomies and other pelvic support procedures which weren’t as easily obtainable as they are now with such a fast recovery period, so, and today’s active woman who wants to have the benefit of those procedures, she can enjoy the results of an excellent procedure, taking care of those problems, yet not have to worry about the trauma associated with normal operative techniques.

In general surgery, we are seeing patients being treated for cancer. Other procedures which would be delayed because of the problems associated with the trauma of the surgery have almost been eliminated so that patients are much more apt to have the proper procedure done earlier at an earlier stage.

This is an important consideration for heart patients because we know that there are specific problems–valves and benign tumors of the heart--that the earlier that those problems are taken care of, you prevent the changes, the irreversible changes that can occur in the heart–thickening of a heart muscle, dilatation of the heart, which will completely change the patient’s lifestyle for the rest of their life, so that if those problems are attended to earlier, the correction can be done earlier. The patient has the benefit for years and decades rather than having to live with irreversible changes.

About Dr. Raczkowski, M.D.:
Dr. Allen Raczkowski, certified by the American Board of Surgery and the American Board of Thoracic Surgery, leads the robotic heart surgery program at Banner Heart Hospital. He has performed nearly 400 procedures using that surgical system, making the Banner Heart Hospital robotic surgery program one of the top three in the nation.

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