The South Carolina Heart Valve Center

Right Mini-Thoracotomy Mitral Valve Repair

Mitral valve repair is often the best option for patients with a leaking (regurgitant) mitral valve and for many with a narrowed (stenotic) mitral valve.

 For some patients, the surgeon may be able to repair the mitral valve through a much smaller incision in the chest, called a right mini-thoracotomy. A 2- to 3-inch skin incision leaves a much smaller scar than traditional open surgery, and since the here is no sternal incision or spreading of the ribs required for this surgical technique, it reduces the patient’s post-operative pain. The surgeon inserts special surgical instruments through the incision to perform the valve repair, which may involve sewing a ring around the valve to improve its size or shape, or removing tissue to allow the valve’s leaflets to better open and close. In some instances, stretched or torn structures that support the valve (called chords) are replaced with artificial gortex chords.

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