Surgical heart procedures

Using state-of-the-art technology and procedures, our skilled surgeons use steady hands to correct structural defects, failing valves and more.

Depending on you condition, your cardiovascular surgeon may choose a minimally-invasive procedure. These procedures use smaller incisions and allow you to recover more quickly.

Additionally, our cardiovascular surgeons may perform robotically-assisted surgery. Click here to learn more about robotic surgeries.

What surgical options are available?

Banner Health cardiovascular surgeons have several tools available to them when it comes to treating your heart condition. You will find more detailed information about some available procedures below.

What is TAVR?

TAVR, or Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement, is a minimally-invasive procedure. This FDA-approved procedure can improve the quality of life in people with aortic stenosis

The cardiovascular surgeon typically makes a small incision near the groin to get to the femoral artery, a large artery in the leg. Then, the surgeon guides special tools through the artery up to the diseased valve.

Once the tools have reached the valve, the surgeon can inflate or expand the replacement valve. As it expands, the replacement valve pushes the diseased valve out of the way.

Patients typically need less time to recover after a TAVR procedure compared to traditional open heart surgery. 

What is MitraClip?

MitraClip, also called a Transcatheter Mitral Valve Replacement, is a minimally-invasive procedure used to correct degenerative mitral regurgitation. This procedure is done in place of open-heart surgery.

The procedure is done by making a small incision in the groin and inserting medical instruments through a catheter. Using skilled hands and diagnostic imaging, your cardiovascular surgeon carefully moves the instruments through the arteries to the heart.

Once the surgeon has the instruments in the heart, he or she can place clips on the mitral valve to slow down the leaking.

How is the Watchman procedure used for Left Atrial Appendage Closure?

The Watchman procedure is a minimally-invasive procedure, which our cardiovascular surgeons use for left atrial appendage closure. While you are under general anesthesia, your surgeon will make a small incision in your thigh and place a flexible tube, called a catheter. Through the catheter, the surgeon will guide the Watchman device to the left atrium, where it will be permanently implanted.

This procedure can help reduce the risk of thromboembolism, which is when a blood clot moves from the atrial appendage to block other arteries.

Read more in this Ask the Expert

What is PFO Closure and how is it done?

PFO, or patent foramen ovale, is small hole in the heart that does not close after birth as it should have. Ordinarily, PFO does not require treatment, unless other heart conditions are present. 

If your cardiologist determines treatment is necessary, our surgeons use minimally invasive techniques to place a device to close the hole. After making a small incision, your surgeon will insert a catheter (a long flexible tube) and will use it to move the device to close the hole to the heart.

What is peripheral vascular intervention?

When arteries in your arms and legs begin to harden from plaque building up, it’s called atherosclerosis. This disease can lead to several major complications, including pain when moving the affected limb, possible amputation and an increased risk from stroke.

To correct the condition, your cardiologist may choose an intervention procedure. Typically, these interventions are minimally invasive, requiring only a small incision and the use of a catheter. Advanced imaging techniques allow the surgeon to guide instruments to treat the affected area. 

Common forms of peripheral vascular intervention include angioplasty and atherectomy.

What are cardiac ablation procedures and what do they treat?

Cardiac ablation procedures are used to treat abnormal heart rhythms. This minimally invasive procedure start with a small incision in which your surgeon will place a catheter. Advanced imaging techniques allow your surgeon to guide instruments through the catheter to areas of the heart causing the irregular beat.

Banner Health surgeons perform two different types of ablation procedures depending on your individual case. One is called radiofrequency ablation, and the other is cryoablation.
Radiofrequency ablation uses heat to treat the affected area, which restores normal rhythm. Cryoablation uses extremely cold temperatures to treat the area and restore proper rhythm.

What is an implantable cardioverter defibrillator and what does it do?

An implantable cardioverter defibrillator, or ICD, and pacemakers are small devices surgeons put in your chest or your abdomen to control your heart’s rhythm.

An ICD attaches to the heart with thin wires. These wires can help monitor your heart rate and deliver small electric shocks if it detects an abnormal heartbeat. It is often used to help control arrhythmias.

The pacemaker is a similar device in that it attaches to the heart by wires. It then delivers small electrical impulses to your heart to keep a regular rhythm.

What is a minimally invasive aortic and mitral valve surgery?

With the advancement of imaging technology and a skilled surgeon’s hand, some procedures can be completed without big incisions and long recovery times. These minimally invasive procedures typically involve a small incision in the artery in the thigh. A catheter, or tube, is fed into the artery to act as a protective tunnel to guide medical instruments to the heart.

Some patients may need repairs done on the aortic valve, mitral valve or both. Banner Health cardiovascular surgeons are able to perform many of these repairs using a minimally invasive procedure.

What is coronary artery bypass grafting?

When plaque builds up in the coronary arteries, it is called coronary artery disease or coronary heart disease. If left untreated, this condition can be fatal.

Coronary artery bypass grafting, or CABG, is often called bypass surgery. Your surgeon may recommend CABG if you have been diagnosed with coronary heart disease and have chest pain. 

The procedure involves taking a vein from either the leg or the chest and attaching it above and below the blockage on the carotid artery. This helps restore blood flow to the affected part of the heart.

When is a valve replacement performed?

In some patients, a heart valve does not function correctly and needs to be replaced. In some of these cases, your surgeon may have to perform traditional open-heart surgery to replace the defective valve.

The following conditions will require valve replacement:

  • Aortic valve regurgitation
  • Aortic valve stenosis
  • Mitral valve regurgitation
  • Mitral valve stenosis

What is the Maze procedure and what does it treat?

The Maze procedure is a minimally invasive procedure to help treat atrial fibrillation. Through a small incision, the surgeon places a catheter, or tube, to guide surgical instruments to the heart. 

Once at the heart, surgeon makes small incisions on the heart in a strategic, maze-like pattern. These incisions become scar tissue, which cannot transmit the electrical impulses that make the heart beat regularly, By making these incisions in key places, normal heart rhythm can be restored.

What is aortic aneurysm repair?

The aorta is the main artery that takes oxygen-rich blood from the heart and pumps it to the rest of the body. Sometimes, this artery forms a weak spot, which can start to enlarge and bulge out. This is called an aneurysm, and if left untreated, it can rupture, putting you in a life-threatening situation.

To repair the aneurysm, your surgeon will likely use a minimally invasive procedure to place a stent (a mesh tube) in the affected area. This stent provides support to the affected part of the artery, allowing it to shrink back to the normal size.

What is a carotid endarterectomy?

The carotid artery is the main artery that supplies blood to the brain. If plaque builds up in the artery, it begins to narrow, which is called stenosis. Stenosis increases your risk of stroke, but it can treated.

Surgeons are capable of performing a procedure called a carotid endarterectomy, also simply called carotid artery surgery. This procedure involves the surgeon opening the artery and removing the built up plaque.

What is an abdominal aortic endograft?

The aorta travels through the chest into the abdomen and is the main artery that supplies blood to the rest of the body. If this artery forms a week spot, it can enlarge and bulge out, a condition called an aneurysm.

When you develop an aneurysm in your abdomen, your surgeon will likely choose an abdominal aortic endograft. This minimally invasive surgery involves a small incision in your thigh and the use of a catheter to help guide medical instruments from the femoral artery, the main artery in your leg, to the location of the aneurysm.

Using medical imaging to guide the medical instruments, the surgeon will place a stent, a mesh tube, into the spot of the aneurysm. This stent provides support to the artery, relieving the effects of the aneurysm.