Robotically assisted microsurgery for endoscopic coronary artery bypass grafting

Edward R. Stephenson, Sachin Sankholkar, Christopher T. Ducko, Ralph J. Damiano

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


Background. As minimally invasive approaches to cardiac surgery have expanded, a significant number of limitations have become apparent, particularly the lack of adequate precision with standard endoscopic instruments. We hypothesized that the use of robotics would eliminate some of these limitations. Methods. Twenty-five coronary anastomoses on an isolated porcine heart, using an arterial conduit to the left anterior descending artery, were performed endoscopically with a microsurgical robotic system. Sophisticated robotic engineering was used to control modified endoscopic instruments under direct surgeon control. Computer tremor elimination and motion scaling allowed for precise maneuvering. An arteriotomy was placed in the left anterior descending artery, and an arterial conduit was positioned for anastomosis. The camera and port sites were placed 90 degrees from the long axis of the arteriotomy. A 7-0 Prolene (Ethicon, Somerville, NJ) suture was used to perform the anastomosis in a continuous fashion, begun at the 12 o'clock position and continued counterclockwise. After completion of half of the anastomosis, the conduits were pulled down and the final sutures were placed. The sutures were tied intracorporeally and the procedure was completed. Results. The 25 conduits were successfully completed and showed good probe patency. Average time for completion of the anastomosis was 31.7 ± 2.0 minutes. Appropriate port placement and orientation, and stabilization of the conduits were critical. The lack of tremor and motion scaling allowed for the precise movements needed to complete an endoscopic microvascular anastomosis. Conclusions. Coronary artery anastomoses are technically feasible with use of robotic instrumentation. This technology may enable the development of a truly endoscopic approach to bypass surgery.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1064-1067
Number of pages4
JournalAnnals of Thoracic Surgery
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1998


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