TUH Team Performs Philadelphia Region’s First Totally Endoscopic Robot-Assisted Mitral Valve Surgery

(Philadelphia, PA)
– A surgical team, led by Temple University Hospital’s Chief of Cardiothoracic Surgery, T. Sloane Guy, MD, has performed the Philadelphia region’s first totally endoscopic robotic mitral valve procedures on two patients.

The team repaired the mitral valve (the “inflow” valve for the main pumping chamber of the heart) of the first patient using only tiny incisions which minimized scarring and avoided the more invasive aspects of traditional open surgery. The second patient underwent mitral valve replacement with similarly tiny incisions. “Both patients did very well, thanks to the team performing flawlessly,” said Dr. Guy.

“Our well trained team at Temple offers a totally endoscopic heart operation not available elsewhere in the Philadelphia region,” notes Dr. Guy. “Indeed, the era of the super-star surgeon is over; and the era of the superstar team has begun … and that’s what we have here at Temple.”

“Many other institutions in the city have done robotic-assisted surgeries in concert with larger and usually more painful thoracotomy or “port access” incisions, in which ribs are often spread apart to gain access to the heart,” continued Dr. Guy, “but none that I am aware of has taken full advantage of the robot for these procedures by using only these tiny incisions. In my opinion, only the elimination of these thoracotomies (other than endoscopic ports) allows robotics to add true value to most patients, and we offer that advantage here at Temple.”

Dr. Guy and his surgical team used the most sophisticated surgical robot available today – a dual-console da Vinci® Si Surgical System – which Temple University Hospital recently acquired to enhance its clinical capabilities. The robot’s instrumentation functions like human hands: it can grasp objects, twist, and turn, allowing surgeons to make very precise movements. High-definition 3-D cameras provide a view of the operative field with superb depth perception.

“Traditional minimally-invasive techniques such as laparoscopic surgery or “port access” mitral valve surgery require straight-shafted instruments that do not have the three-dimensional range of motion that is possible with robotic-assisted surgery,” says Dr. Guy. “Robotic-assisted surgery also gives superior visualization, letting you see the patient’s heart structures such as the mitral valve even better than during open surgery, and see them in their natural position in the chest.”

Among the potential advantages of robotic-assisted surgery with tiny incisions, Dr. Guy notes, are decreased blood loss, less pain, less time required on a ventilator (breathing machine), minimal chance of infection, quicker healing time, smaller scars, earlier return to work, and shorter hospital stays. In addition to life-saving heart procedures such as mitral-valve repair or replacement, robotic cardiac surgery can also be used for cardiac tumor removal, tricuspid valve procedures, atrial septal defect closure, procedures to correct atrial fibrillation, coronary artery bypass surgery, and others.

For more information about Temple University Hospital and Cardiothoracic Surgery, visit our websites at, and

Temple University School of Medicine & Temple University Health System

Temple University Health System, Inc. (TUHS) is a $1 billion academic-medical-center enterprise dedicated to providing access to quality patient care and supporting excellence in medical education and translational research. The Health System consists of four provider facilities (Temple University Hospital – ranked among the "Best Hospitals" in the region by US News & World Report; Jeanes Hospital; Temple University Hospital - Episcopal Campus; and Temple University Hospital - Northeastern Campus); Temple Transport Team; and Temple Physicians, Inc. – a network of community-based, primary-care and specialty physician practices.

Temple University School of Medicine is one of the nation’s leading medical schools. Established in 1901, Temple’s medical school teaches approximately 720 medical students, 140 graduate students, and 500 residents each year. It employs 453 full-time faculty, 67 part-time faculty, 1,164 volunteer faculty, and 869 staff. Temple University School of Medicine ranks 48th out of 146 medical schools in the country according to U.S. News & World Report. In terms of research rankings based on NIH funding, Temple is the second-highest ranked medical school in Philadelphia, and the third highest in Pennsylvania.

Rick Cushman




Date Published: Friday, October 21, 2011

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