A myxoma is a tumor inside the heart, often in one of the upper chambers (atria). While not usually cancerous, the tumor can block blood flow through the heart and can lead to the formation of clots inside the heart. Clots that break loose can travel to the lungs (pulmonary embolism) or brain (stroke).
Surgical removal is the preferred treatment for myxoma. Considered a form of “open heart” surgery, it traditionally involves sternotomy -– cutting through the breastbone and opening the ribs. This can cause significant trauma, prolong healing time and increase the risk for serious complications and even mortality.
Robotic-assisted myxoma removal is an alternative to traditional open surgery. When performed robotically with the da Vinci Surgical System, myxoma removal is done with unparalleled precision and control through a few small incisions along the side of the chest.
In addition to avoiding the pain and trauma of sternotomy and rib spreading, this may provide patient benefits such as:
As with any surgery, these benefits cannot be guaranteed, as surgery is both patient- and procedure-specific. While robotic-assisted myxoma removal is considered safe and effective, it may not be appropriate for every individual. Always ask your doctor about all treatment options, as well as their risks and benefits.
Illustrations courtesy of Intuitive Surgical, Inc.