In this health video learn how the days of invasive open-heart surgeries could be in the past. Now, robots are replacing doctors in the operating room and making tiny incisions.
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Jennifer Mathews: Tony Teutsch was only 12, when he found out he had a heart murmur. Tony Teutsch : I had developed a shortness of breath along with other symptoms. I was skipping a beat, or palpitations, or just chest pain. Jennifer Mathews: At 47, he was diagnosed with a mitral valve leak. With every heart beat, the valve that controlled the flow of blood into the left ventricle pumped blood into his lungs. Patients generally have two options: A valve replacement or surgical repair. But Tony had a third choice. He'd be one of the first people in the country to have a new procedure, an advanced mitral valve repair called The American Correction, performed by a robot. Dr. Gerald Lawrie: This is the first technology that actually gives us a better view and more capacity to do a more accurate operation. Jennifer Mathews: The surgeon directs the robot from this console. Unlike other valve repairs, this procedure is minimally invasive. Dr. Gerald Lawrie: Instead of making a cut down the front here, we put some little tubes in through the armpit, through the side. Jennifer Mathews: The four tubes are attached to the robot's arms. Dr. Gerald Lawrie: The robot now has four arms, as opposed to the surgeon's two arms. So right away we have doubled the number of things we can be doing. Jennifer Mathews: A 3D telescopic lens gives doctors an extra set of eyes. Dr. Gerald Lawrie: We can get the instruments right down inside the chamber. We're not standing back looking in from two or three feet. We are actually inside there working on it. Jennifer Mathews: Weeks later, Tony came back to the operating room to say thanks to the man and the machine. Tony Teutsch: I am ready to get back to my normal activities. Jennifer Mathews: Together, they gave him his life back. This is Jennifer Mathews reporting.