Overview

In minimally invasive heart surgery, heart (cardiac) surgeons perform heart surgery through small incisions in the right side of your chest, as an alternative to open-heart surgery.

Surgeons don't cut through the breastbone (sternotomy). Rather, they operate between the ribs, which may result in less pain and a quicker recovery for many people.

In minimally invasive surgery, your heart surgeon may have a better view of some parts of your heart than in open-heart surgery. Similar to open surgery, some minimally invasive heart surgery procedures may require stopping your heart temporarily and diverting blood flow from your heart using a heart-lung bypass machine.

Minimally invasive heart surgery may be performed to treat a variety of heart conditions.

Mayo Clinic's approach