Patients recover faster after robotic heart surgery

- When Jason Selman, 47, found out earlier this year that he needed heart surgery immediately, he never thought that he'd be almost back to normal just a few weeks after the procedure.

Jason said he felt blessed to meet Dr. T. Sloane Guy, a cardiothoracic surgeon at New York-Presbyterian's Weill Cornell Medicine. He is one of a small number of doctors in the country who regularly perform robotic heart surgeries.

The most common heart surgery involves breaking open a patient's breast bone, with a recovery time of at least 6 weeks. While both procedures are just as effective, robotic heart surgery is significantly less invasive with a much shorter recovery time.

"What the robotic system allows me to do is have little miniature hands that are little miniature robotic hands where it will go into the patient through the small incisions and therefore allows me to have the same dexterity as my own hands, but I don't have to make a big incision," Dr. Guy said.

Just 3 weeks after his surgery this past February, Jason was skiing through the mountains of Colorado.

Dr. Guy said he does about 100 robotic heart surgeries a year and his goal is to more than double that number. He said the problem is that not enough patients know that this type of surgery exists. He said that next spring he will be organizing a robotic heart surgery training for doctors across the country. 

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