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Cardiothoracic Surgery

Patients requiring heart, lung or other chest surgery take comfort in knowing that Lourdes is one of the most highly regarded cardiothoracic-surgery centers in New Jersey and in the country.   Lourdes surgeons have a depth of experience in both conventional and less-invasive approaches to cardiothoracic surgery, and they are leading the way in newer, minimally invasive techniques.

HealthGrades ranks Virtua Our Lady of Lourdes among the 50 best hospitals in the U.S. for cardiac surgery, placing it on the same list as the Mayo Clinic, Cleveland Clinic, and other internationally known heart centers. Learn more.

In addition to the information that the team gains from radiologic imaging, cardiac testing and other diagnostics, cardiothoracic operations serve to give the surgical team a closer look at structures such as the heart, lungs, chest wall and space, and great vessels – and to treat problems in these areas.   At Lourdes, patients and their families have the reassurance of knowing that care comes from an accomplished and dedicated staff that is committed to a patient-centered experience and to the continued successful outcomes it has achieved for so many patients.

Highly trained specialists on the Lourdes team perform heart and other chest surgeries in ways that minimize the invasiveness of the operation:

  • When possible, they use small incisions between and around the ribs (mini-thoracotomy incision) and a thoracoscope to see and operate.
  • Increasingly, they are taking advantage of the robotic surgical system, the instruments of which pass through a few small (half-inch) incisions between the ribs.
  • If a sternotomy (cutting of the breastbone) is necessary, they may use a mini-sternotomy that halves the length of the incision necessary.

At Lourdes, the percentage of cardiothoracic surgical procedures performed minimally invasively or by a sternum-sparing approach is among highest of any heart centers in the region.

With the thoracoscopic and robotic approaches, the surgeons avoid having to create surgical openings large enough to get their hands into.   Thus, there is no need to cut bone or major muscles.   These new approaches help to decrease surgical risks and improve precision and recovery times.   Patients have a shorter length of stay in the hospital and faster return to work or other activities.

Lourdes cardiothoracic surgeons specialize in such procedures as coronary bypass grafting, and valve repairs and replacement, as well as heart arrhythmia treatment and aneurysm surgery – with  emphasis on the less-invasive techniques.   For heart operations, the Lourdes team sometimes performs surgery while the heart is still beating, thereby eliminating the need for heart-lung bypass during the procedure.   And they use approaches to minimize time on the bypass system.   For thoracic surgery for conditions of the lungs or the chest, the specialists deliver exacting resections and other interventions through the smallest incisions.

At Lourdes, the percentage of cardiothoracic surgical procedures performed minimally invasively or by a sternum-sparing approach is among highest of any heart centers in the region.

The operating room team for heart surgery consists of the cardiovascular surgeon, assisting surgeons, cardiovascular anesthesiologist, perfusion technologist (if a heart-lung machine is used) and cardiovascular nurses.   Likewise a dedicated team of diagnostic specialists, pathologists, oncologists, physician assistants, respiratory therapists, surgical & intensive-care nurses and other allied health professionals conducts patients through lung operations and other thoracic surgeries.

Following cardiothoracic surgery, patients benefit from care in cardiac or special intensive-care units designed to meet the unique needs of heart or thoracic surgery patients. With the help of advanced technology, highly skilled and caring nurses and physicians monitor and manage patient progress, as they assist in the promptest possible healing and recovery for each individual.

For more on minimally invasive techniques, see Lourdes newsletter: Cardiothoracic Surgery Today

Here’s how to find a Lourdes cardiothoracic surgeon.


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