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Healtheuniversity > English > Cardiac College > Treat Heart Disease > Heart Procedures > Valve Surgery

Valve Surgery

If you are having surgery, the surgeon may use either a minimally invasive procedure or an invasive procedure depending on what is wrong with the valve.

See how valve surgery can help blood to flow through your heart better (opens in new window) »

Minimally Invasive Procedures

Minimally invasive procedures involve smaller incisions and less pain with a quicker recovery than the more traditional open-heart surgery.

In open-heart surgery the chest wall is opened up and the patient is put on a heart-lung machine (cardiopulmonary bypass) during the procedure.

  • Minimally invasive procedures are done by inserting a catheter (a thin tube) into the femoral artery in the groin (a similar procedure as an angioplasty).
  • Then the surgeon can either:

Invasive Procedures

  • Invasive procedures are done by making incisions in the chest wall. A surgeon may replace a valve that is not working properly by:
    • performing open-heart surgery (the most invasive) or
    • by making small incisions and use a camera and robotics (less invasive surgery)
  • The valve is replaced with either a biological valve (made of human or animal tissue) or a mechanical valve (made of metal or plastic parts that are well tolerated by the body).
  • Surgeons may also repair a valve by:
    • removing calcium buildup
    • reshaping the valve
    • enlarging the valve opening
    • shortening the cords that support the valve
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