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Right lateral mini-thoracotomy for mitral valve surgery
Since the 1990s, minimally invasive cardiac surgery has gained wide acceptance due to patient and economic demand. The advantages are less trauma, less bleeding, less wound infections, less pain and faster recovery. Many studies showed that the outcomes are comparable with those of conventional sternotomy. Right lateral mini-thoracotomy evolved into a routine and safe access in specialized centres for minimally invasive mitral valve surgery. The 6-cm incision is performed over the fifth intercostal space in the inframammary groove. With a double-lumen tube, the right lung is deflated before entering the pleural cavity. A soft tissue retractor is used to minimize rib spreading. The stab incisions for the endoscopic camera and the transthoracic clamp are performed in the right anterior and posterior axillary line in the third intercostal space. Surgery on the mitral valve is performed in a standard fashion under a direct vision with video assistance. One chest tube is inserted. The intercostal space is adapted with braided sutures to prevent lung herniation. Ropivacaine is used for local infiltration. The pectoral muscle, subcutaneous tissue and skin are adapted with running sutures. Complications of a right lateral mini-thoracotomy are rare (conversion to sternotomy, rethoracotomy, phrenic nerve palsy, wound infection and thoracic wall hernia) and well manageable.