The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Keyhole key to heart surgery minus scar

When doctors told Lal Lim Hangi that she had to undergo cardiac surgery to correct a congenital defect, it was like the end of the world for the 16-year-old for it would leave permanent scars on her chest. However, Hangi was offered an alternative and she gladly opted for “keyhole surgery”. The scars would be minimum but the results would be good. A few days ago, Hangi underwent Minimal Invasive Cardiac Surgery (MICS) at a city hospital and is now on the path to recovery at home.

With 14 other similar MICS surgeries to its credit in the recent past, the B.M. Birla Heart Research Centre has emerged as the first centre in eastern India, and the second in India, to devote a fully hi-tech operating theatre (OT) for the purpose of conducting MICS surgeries regularly.

Instead of the conventional method of making 10-12-inch-long incisions, only 1-2 cm small cuts are made on the chest when resorting to the MICS procedure. Through this opening, the operation is executed using endoscopic instruments, minimising the use of hands.

The surgery has so far been very successful and people have shown a preference for it as it leaves a negligible scar. A patient can resume normal life after a few days’ rest. All the patients who have undergone this surgery responded very well during the follow-up investigations, said cardiac surgeon Ajay Kaul.

The new OT has been equipped with several sophisticated gadgets, including endoscopes, harmonic scalpel, knot- tying devices, dissectors and visual aids, apart from a host of other devices. “After receiving such a wonderful response, we decided to go full throttle and inaugurate the OT since we want to provide the best facilities,” said Amit De, administrator of the hospital.

With the help of the MICS process, multiple heart ailments can be taken care of, including closure of a hole in the heart, referred to as Atrial Septal Defect (ASD) and Ventricular Septal Defect (VSD), Valve Replacement Surgery and Coronary Artery Bypass Grafting Surgery (CABG).

There is good news for patients planning to undergo bypass surgery as well, for the MICS process involves making only a one-inch incision, instead of a big cut to remove veins from the legs, hands or chest wall.

Apart from the recent surgery, the hospital has so far conducted three ASD/VSD surgeries, four valve replacement surgeries, five CABG and two other cardiac operations using the MICS procedure.

“This procedure is not only less painful, but is also a giant step in turning cardiac surgery into a day-care event,” Kaul added.

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