Patient undergoes new procedure at Wesley Medical Center
It isn’t everyday that a patient is excited about showing his surgical scar, but in Tom Snider’s case, it is.
Snider, 79, recently underwent minimally invasive aortic valve replacement (mini AVR) at Wesley Medical Center and is happy to show where the small incision was made for this new procedure.
“This surgery has changed my life,” Snider says. “My health had deteriorated to a point where intervention was needed and I’m so thankful I found the right surgeons who could make this happen.”
Snider had long suffered from aortic valve stenosis, a condition where the aortic valve does not completely open, thus restricting blood flow to the rest of the body. This generally causes patients to experience chest pain and shortness of breath. Left untreated, most cases result in death.
Aortic stenosis is not common and usually occurs more in men than women. Even more uncommon is aortic stenosis resulting from calcium deposits forming around the aortic valve, as was the case with Snider.
Unlike traditional aortic valve replacement where an incision is made from the base of the neck to the top of the navel and the patient’s sternum is opened completely, surgeons performing mini AVR use a much smaller three to four inch incision and only separate the sternum’s upper portion. This technique drastically reduces post-operative pain and recovery time. Consequently, a patient’s hospital stay is reduced, as is his likelihood of suffering from post-op infections.
Chris Benjamin, M. D., and Joseph Rubelowsky, M.D., both Cleveland Clinic-trained cardiovascular surgeons, have had extensive experience in valve repair and replacement, both radically and minimally. Though each surgeon had done this procedure multiple times, this was the first time they have performed this procedure in Mississippi.
“This is why I wanted to join Wesley and bring our highly-trained surgical team with us; this hospital is interested in pushing the envelope in heart care,” says Dr. Rubelowsky. “And we’re only scratching the surface with this procedure.”
The Cleveland Clinic, America’s number one heart hospital since 1996 according to U.S. News and World Report, perfected the technique of the mini AVR and continues to make advancements in heart surgery and heart repair.
Both doctors plan to offer this procedure to patients at Wesley who meet certain surgical criteria. Additionally, they hope to continue to bring the advanced surgical knowledge they gained at the Cleveland Clinic to their patients in south Mississippi.
“You’re going to see a lot more of these,” Dr. Rubelowsky says. “In fact, this procedure will become the standard of care within the next five years.”
Watch WDAM's Medical Housecall about Tom Snider and the mini AVR.