Does robotic heart surgery have increased risks?

Published: Tuesday, September 19, 2023
Cardiothoracic Surgery

Robotic heart surgery is becoming more common these days, but is it as safe as traditional heart surgery? We’re answering that question in today’s blog with a look at robotic heart surgery survival rates.

Any type of surgery involving a robot may sound like it’s straight out of a science fiction thriller. When the surgery involves your heart, the idea may seem even more far-fetched.

But innovations in technology and technique make robotic heart surgery very much a reality these days. Performed by specialty-trained surgeons with advanced expertise in using the technology, robotic heart surgery offers many benefits for patients.

How safe is robotic heart surgery?

This is an easy one to answer. Robotic heart surgery is as safe as traditional procedures used to treat heart health conditions. Robotic heart surgery survival rates are comparable to traditional surgery survival rates.

Because robotic heart surgery at Georgia Heart Institute is performed by experienced heart surgeons from Northeast Georgia Physicians Group, those undergoing these procedures can expect higher quality outcomes and lower risk.

Why is that? It’s because the surgeons have significant expertise. They’ve performed the same surgery using the same technology many times before. Repetition matters when it comes to perfecting the craft of surgery.

Those undergoing robotic heart surgery at Georgia Heart Institute also benefit from advanced care after their surgical procedures. As patients recover in the hours and days following surgery, they are carefully monitored by a team of providers in the Ronnie Green Heart Center, our advanced cardiovascular intensive care unit.

Is the risk of complications higher with robotic heart surgery?

There is a risk of complications involved in any type of heart surgery, but the risk of having a robotic procedure is no higher than having a traditional procedure.

In fact, patients undergoing an endoscopic robotic heart procedure may actually be at a reduced risk of complications due to the less invasive nature of robotic surgery. Traditional heart surgery often involves breaking open the chest to access the heart through an invasive procedure known as a sternotomy.

Recovering after a sternotomy carries potential risk of its own, and the recovery can be long and uncomfortable. Many heart procedures, including cardiac bypass in some cases, can now be performed in a minimally invasive way without opening up the chest, avoiding sternotomy altogether.

That’s an added benefit for patients undergoing robotic procedures, who also benefit from smaller incisions, reduced blood loss, less pain, a lower risk of infection and other complications, and a quicker recovery time.

The bottom line? While every type of heart surgery has some level of risk, robotic heart surgery is very safe. Talk with your surgeon and other members of your care team about what to expect from your surgical procedures and any questions you have.

Next Steps

Georgia Heart Institute is now offering robotic heart surgery through our partnership with the nationally renowned surgeons of Northeast Georgia Physicians Group. Learn more about these innovative procedures and what heart conditions they can treat.