Heart surgeries that used to be done through open heart surgery with long incisions and long recovery times can now be performed through tiny incisions — about the diameter of an ink pen — in Gainesville.
Physicians Group (NGPG) Cardiovascular and Thoracic Surgery now offer minimally-invasive robotic heart surgery, giving patients in the area more access to much-needed, cutting-edge procedures without having to travel far. Sloane Guy, MD, performed Northeast Georgia Medical Center’s (NGMC) first surgery in February 2023. “We’re able to offer patients an option that’s significantly less invasive, meaning faster recoveries and smaller scars for patients when compared to open heart surgery where an incision might be eight-to-10 inches long,” said Dr. Guy, a robotic heart surgeon and the director of Minimally Invasive and Robotic Heart Surgery at NGPG. “The heart surgeries I perform robotically use incisions that are about 8 millimeters long.” During his surgical training, Dr. Guy focused his skills specifically on mitral valve repairs. He prides himself on performing the procedure, which fixes a leaky or stiff mitral valve in the heart, in the least invasive way possible – something that’s hard for other surgeons to achieve because of the commitment it takes to learn.
WHAT IS ROBOTIC HEART SURGERY?
Robot-assisted heart surgery is a type of minimally-invasive procedure that’s especially advanced. During the surgery, the heart is accessed through two small incisions. A specialized camera is placed into the body through the incisions, allowing the surgeon to view real-time video of the surgical site. Guided by that video, the surgeon uses small instruments to repair the valve without moving the heart. Because this procedure make less of an impact on the body, it provides patients with a number of benefits, including reduced blood loss, less risk of complications and a quicker recovery. During robotic heart surgery, the surgeon sits at a nearby console while the surgical instruments, guided by the robotic arm, move in real time with the surgeon’s hand and wrist movements. These tiny instruments can make much smaller movements than human hands can, meaning there’s less damage to surrounding tissue.
A COMPREHENSIVE TEAM
The surgeons of NGPG Cardiovascular and Thoracic Surgery are an integral part of Georgia Heart Institute, Northeast Georgia Health System’s (NGHS) comprehensive heart and vascular service line. And robotic heart surgery is just one of the robust treatment offerings at NGHS. Patients can also receive heart care services from the Center for Cardiovascular Prevention, Metabolism & Lipids; the Heart Failure Treatment & Recovery Center; the Women’s Heart Center; and the Structural Heart Center.
“We’re collaborating more than ever with the cardiologists of Georgia Heart Institute to provide patients with a seamless experience, should they need heart or thoracic surgery,” said Clifton Hastings, MD, medical director of NGPG Cardiovascular and Thoracic Surgery. “This means that patients can see Georgia Heart Institute’s cardiologists for everything from preventive treatment, to complex interventional cardiology procedures, to open and minimally invasive robotic heart surgeries by our team.”
Call NGPG Cardiovascular and Thoracic Surgery at 770-219-7099 to schedule an appointment and see If you’re a candidate for minimally-invasive robotic heart surgery.