If you’ve been told you need keyhole heart surgery, it can be a scary, unsettling time. This is in any case, but especially if you’ve never had surgery before. While keyhole heart surgery is much less invasive than traditional heart surgery, it is – at the end of the day – still largely life altering surgery, and it is good to do some research before you have it. So if you’ve chosen your London heart clinic, and found a doctor you trust – read on for everything else you should expect from keyhole heart surgery.
Your breastbone won’t be cut
If you picture traditional heart surgery, that you may have seen on TV, or in films, you will likely imagine a full breastbone division, where the chest is opened. However, when it comes to keyhole heart surgery, this is not the case at all. Keyhole surgery is minimally invasive, meaning it is conducted through a small incision. This is usually on the chest, or sometimes the groin. Because the incision is so much smaller, it will heal in just a few days. Should you opt for traditional breastbone division surgery, this takes a few months to heal.
You’ll have a quicker recovery time
With traditional heart surgery, the breastbone division means recovery will be a few months – on top of life altering surgery, you’ll also be dealing with broken bones and a large incision to deal with. However, with keyhole heart surgery, your small incision will heal within a few days, and you can be back to ‘normal’ within a few weeks. Always follow your doctors advice and avoid very physical activities for the recommended period of time, but other than this, you should be able to be back at work and doing the things you love within no time. Due to the surgery taking place through a small incision, you’ll feel much less pain, and there is no chance of bone infection, making it – oftentimes – a safer option.
You’ll have more subtle scarring
Due to the fact you will not have a breastbone division, your scar will be much smaller – usually around 3 inches long, compared to the 12 inches a breastbone division can cause. It is also usually located on a more subtle part of the body. This means you can often easily cover the scar with clothing or underwear, and it won’t be visible – you can continue to wear your normal wardrobe, with no alterations necessary. Scarring can be a real worry for many people who need surgery, and it can be a horrible visual reminder of your pain. So the fact keyhole surgery means the scarring is so much more minimal and subtle is a real bonus.
You will still experience some discomfort
While keyhole heart surgery is an amazing technological advancement and has lots of benefits compared to traditional surgery, you will still feel some discomfort. This is because you have undergone major surgery, and should still treat it as such. However, this pain should be manageable with over the counter painkillers. Should you experience anything more severe, always inform your doctor as soon as possible.