A heart valve surgery involves either repairing or replacing a dysfunctional valve through open surgery or a minimally invasive procedure. A full recovery is expected within a few weeks to several months following the operation, although the duration of the healing process depends on the patient's health status before surgical treatment, notes the United States National Institutes of Health's MedlinePlus.
A heart valve surgery is typically required for patients diagnosed with valvular stenosis or valvular insufficiency. The former occurs when a valve restricts forward blood flow, while the latter occurs when a valve enables blood to flow back through the valve. A primary corrective measure for these conditions is through a heart valve surgery, which is known to alleviate symptoms and extend a patient's life.
Prior to undergoing an open heart or minimally invasive procedure, a patient is administered with an anesthetic to induce unconsciousness during the operation. Open heart surgery involves making a large incision in the breastbone to access the heart and aorta. The patient's heart is stopped while hooked to a bypass pump or heart-lung bypass machine, which takes control over the heart's function, states MedlinePlus. In case of a valve replacement, the surgeon can put in a mechanical or biological valve.
A minimally invasive valve surgery involves making a series of small incisions or by using a catheter that is inserted into the skin. Two types of surgical techniques that use a minimally invasive approach are percutaneous surgery and robot-assisted surgery.