Today several options for heart valve surgery are available. The traditional method requires a long incision to be made down the patient’s chest. It can be as twelve inches in length and require months of recuperation.
Beginning in 1996 heart valve surgery has expanded to include minimally invasive surgery to repair and replace heart valves. There are several ways this can be achieved, including accessing the heart through a small, angled incision in the center of the chest; making two to four small incisions in the chest for robotic surgery; or using transcatheter aortic valve replacement surgery (TAVR).
TAVR is an evolving technique for patients with limited treatment options. Through a small incision near the groin, an artificial valve is threaded up the femoral artery, a large artery in the leg, to the heart by way of a catheter.