Dr. Raczkowski describes the recovery process from robotic cardiac surgery in comparison to the recovery after traditional cardiac surgery.
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Recovery from Robotic Cardiac Surgery Normally for, let’s say valve surgery, the normal hospital stay is around a week. Most people require about two weeks after that to get back to about 60% of the normal activity. Patients who have sternotomies require a minimum of 12 weeks before the bone has enough strength to allow them to do a majority of their normal physical activities. Now you have also have to understand that the heart has to get used to the fact that the valve is no longer leaky and that requires some adjustment to the normal workings of the body. Some patients will recover very quickly, especially the younger patients, but some will take a little longer because their heart just has to adjust to the fact that it’s actually working better. In minimally invasive surgery we don’t have a sternotomy. You don’t have to worry about an incision that may not heal properly if you put too much stress on it. Since there are no major muscle groups that are cut or bone that is divided, the patients actually can do all their physical activities immediately. Now the incisions are tender for a while which will limit their activities for at least the first week, but the patient can’t damage their incisions. Say they happen to be unfortunately in an auto accident and their airbag deploys they don’t worry about how their incisions are going to heal because they are not going to have any effect at all, whereas a sternotomy, you can disrupt that healing process and may have problems associated with the incision. Now that would be uncommon, but that’s just an example of the difference. Most patients who have minimally invasive robotic surgery are up and doing their normal activities within seven to ten days after the surgery.
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