Coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG) is a surgical procedure used to improve blood flow to the heart. If you’ve been diagnosed with severe coronary heart disease, commonly known as coronary artery disease, your doctor may recommend this surgical procedure.
The heart and vascular specialists at SSM Health perform this minimally invasive procedure through a small, three-inch incision between the ribs, rather than the traditional eight-inch incision down the breast bone. This method allows us to enter through the ribs on the left side of the chest, under the breast, instead of cutting into the bone.
This bypass procedure is performed while the heart is still beating, eliminating the need for a heart-lung machine. This technique is called off-pump or “beating heart” surgery.
Just as with traditional open heart surgery, healthy vessels are taken from elsewhere in the body. They are then grafted in place, rerouting blood around the narrowed or blocked coronary arteries.
Advantages of CABG
This procedure has provided our patients with a much better post-surgical experience, highlighted by:
- Shorter hospital stays
- Significantly faster return to daily living (our patients have been able to return to work in two weeks versus three months)
- Reduced risk of infection
- Smaller incision and less scarring
- Reduced risk for depression
- Fewer physical limitations
- Fewer post-operative lung problems
- Reduced risk for cognitive problems
As with every surgical procedure, minimally invasive CABG does have its risks. Make an appointment with our heart and vascular team to learn more this procedure and whether it might be right for you. We’re here to answer questions, ease your concerns and help you make a decision about treatment.
Candidates for CABG
Not everyone is a good candidate for this minimally invasive procedure. Because the procedure takes longer to perform than traditional bypass surgery, it is rarely used in emergency situations.
The procedure is most appropriate for people with one to three vessels that need to be bypassed.
Patients who may otherwise be considered too high-risk or compromised to undergo the traditional CABG surgery may be able to benefit from this less invasive procedure. These patients include those who are older or those suffering from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
If you’ve been diagnosed with a heart disease and your doctor has recommended surgery, we encourage you to meet with one of our nationally recognized surgeons. They’ll be able to walk you through all of your options, including this minimally invasive procedure.