Welcome to Cardiothoracic Surgery, experts in minimally invasive surgery

Welcome to the website of the Cardiothoracic Surgery department of Jessa Ziekenhuis Hasselt.

Our department was established in 1992 and offers surgical treatment for all heart diseases except congenital procedures (paediatric cardiac surgery) and heart transplants. Cardiac surgical procedures without opening the chest may sound like science fiction, but they are already a reality thanks to revolutionary advances in cardiac surgical treatment. They are one of our department’s areas of expertise.

During minimally invasive cardiac surgery, surgeons use smaller incisions to reduce trauma to the body on the one hand and accelerate recovery on the other hand. This is described as “keyhole surgery”, “exploratory surgery”, “minimal access surgery” or “port access surgery”. Some of these minimally invasive procedures use a long, thin telescope or thoracoscope connected to a video camera to look inside the chest. We refer to this form of minimal access surgery as a VATS procedure (Video-Assisted Thoracoscopic Surgery). During video-assisted cardiac surgery, a few small 1-cm incisions – referred to as ports – are made in the chest between the ribs. The thoracoscope with the camera is inserted through one of the ports and the instruments designed especially for this technique, are inserted through the other ports in order to perform the procedure.

During cardiac VATS procedures the patient is connected to the heart-lung machine through the blood vessels in the groin.

The benefits of minimally invasive surgery:

  • Smaller incisions, so less tissue damage
  • Smaller scars with better cosmetic results
  • Reduced risk of infection
  • Less blood loss
  • Less postoperative pain
  • Shorter stay in the intensive care unit and a shorter stay in hospital
  • Faster recovery with patients resuming normal activity more quickly

Our department performs the following procedures with “minimal access”.