Bypass-Minimally Invasive

Minimally invasive coronary artery bypass surgery. It's a long name, but at Mayo Clinic Health System in Eau Claire's Cardiac Center it means significant "short cuts" -- shorter, smaller surgical incisions and shortened recovery time -- for some coronary bypass patients.

Mayo Clinic Health System in Eau Claire is one of only a handful of locations in the country where minimally invasive coronary surgery is being regularly performed. Robert Wiechmann, M.D., a cardiovascular surgeon at Mayo Clinic Health System in Eau Claire's Cardiac Center, says that traditional bypass surgery requires a sternotomy (cutting the sternum or breast bone) to reach the coronary blood vessels. Physician assistants in cardiovascular and thoracic surgery also use new techniques to minimize the trauma of vein harvest.

"Minimally invasive surgery, however, requires only three small incisions on the left side of the chest. That means less stress and trauma during surgery, which means a faster, smoother recovery," Dr. Wiechmann says.

Patients can often return to work in one month rather than the three months typical of more invasive procedures, he adds.

Who is a candidate?

Candidates for minimally invasive coronary surgery include patients who have:

  • Blocked or diseased vessels on the left side of the heart only
  • Not had previous bypass surgery
  • No pre-existing scar tissue on the heart or chest
  • No dilated or enlarged blood vessels

For more information about services available at Mayo Clinic Health System in Eau Claire's Cardiac Center, call 715-838-6320.