We hope you never need heart surgery, but if you do it’s important to know what options are available to you. This site provides an introduction to some of the approaches that are used today, with an emphasis on cardiac surgery performed with the da Vinci® Surgical System, a recent innovation that uses robotic instrumentation to allow cardiothoracic surgeons to operate through a smaller opening.


Patients who undergo a minimally invasive procedure such as robotic heart surgery typically experience shorter recovery times than those who have open heart surgery. These minimally invasive alternatives use a set of small ports, instead of cutting the chest open and splitting the breast bone.

Minimally invasive techniques can be used for a variety of procedures, including coronary bypass surgery, mitral valve repair, atrial septal defect (ASD or PFO) closure, or mitral valve replacement. (The latter is performed in cases of mitral valve prolapse, a condition that occurs when the valve does not close properly in the left side of a patient’s heart.)

Not everyone is a candidate for minimally invasive surgery. Therefore, we have also included information on traditional open heart surgery. Hopefully, the more you know about the procedure, the less intimidating it will be.

We understand that keeping up with the latest medical advances can be overwhelming, especially at a time when you and your loved ones are already under a lot of stress. We’ve tried to make this site simple to understand, so that you will be prepared to ask more informed questions.

This information is not an alternative to direct communication with your health care providers. We hope it will help you to start a dialogue that will lead to the best option for you or your loved one.