London Bridge Hospital

Centre for Minimal Access Cardiac surgery at London Bridge Hospital

London Bridge Hospital

Minimal access alternatives to open heart surgery

Appointments & Enquiries

020 7089 2017

London Bridge Hospital

27 Tooley Street

London SE1 2PR

Less invasive surgical techniques to improve outcomes

When heart valves become diseased (stenosis) or coronary arteries become blocked (occluded), blood flow through the heart and around the body can be restricted to the point that patients require surgery. Instead of open heart surgery (sternotomy), less invasive – minimal access – surgical techniques can be performed on suitable patients. These newer techniques provide more options for patients and can help them achieve a better quality of life more quickly, along with less pain and scarring.

Procedures performed minimally invasively include: 

  • Aortic, mitral and tricuspid valve repairs and replacements 
  • Coronary artery bypass grafts in single vessel disease, on a beating heart
  • Atrial septal defects or PFO closures (holes in the heart wall dividing the atria)

About minimal access surgery

Compared to traditional open heart surgery, minimal access cardiac surgery is performed using smaller incisions. Such surgeries are carried out by a minority of surgeons, as very high skill levels are required. These surgeons are able to gain access to the heart in a number of ways: between the ribs, preventing the need for cutting the breastbone (full sternotomy); or with a much smaller incision in the sternum (mini sternotomy), or using a keyhole approach (in the case of a MIDCAB). Unlike traditional open heart surgery – with an approximate recovery time of four to six weeks, and 3 months to full fitness – such smaller incisions can achieve:

  • Faster recovery times: a few weeks
  • Less pain and trauma: reduced damage to ribs
  • Improved cosmetics: smaller scars
  • Less trauma in more vulnerable patients
  • Lower infection rates 

The latest minimal access surgical techniques

Repair or replacement of valves, structural defects and single vessel coronary artery bypass grafts (CABG) can be approached minimally invasively in patients’ whose anatomy, health and build make it safe to do so. The main procedures include:


Minimal access mitral or tricuspid valve surgery (mini-mitral/tricuspid)

Most often an incision of less than 8cm, between the ribs, on the right hand side of the chest. Endoscopes project images onto a large screen while surgeons use thoracoscopic instruments to repair or replace valves.

Minimally invasive aortic valve HCA UK

Minimally invasive aortic valve replacement (mini AVR)

A smaller incision in the sternum providing sufficient access to the heart for the use of conventional instruments to replace the aortic valve. This ensures less scarring in the event of future surgeries.


Minimally invasive direct coronary artery bypass (MIDCAB)

A small incision in the left side of the chest for bypass of coronary vessels, performed on a beating heart. This decreases the need for blood transfusion and shortens length of hospital stay.

Despite being more complex, a mini sternotomy for an aortic valve replacement is preferable to a full sternotomy because it gives me the satisfaction of seeing my patients get better quicker, not to mention improved cosmetic results.

Mr Chris Young, Consultant Cardiothoracic Surgeon

London Bridge Hospital minimal access cardiac surgeons

Our consultant cardiothoracic surgeons perform the full range of open sternotomy procedures however they also subspecialise in the various minimal access techniques. So if you’d like a second opinion or if you want more information about minimal access cardiac surgery, consultant contact details can be found via their profiles (below).


Mr Christopher Young

Consultant Cardiothoracic Surgeon, specialising in partial sternotomy for mini aortic valve replacement


Mr Kulvinder Lall

Consultant Cardiothoracic Surgeon, specialising in right anterior thoracotomy for aortic valve replacement

Conal Austin

Mr Conal Austin

Consultant Cardiothoracic Surgeon, specialising in atrial septal defect and PFO closure

Dincer Aktuerk Aortic Valve Replacement HCA UK

Mr Dincer Aktuerk

Keyhole Heart Surgeon, specialising in minimally invasive mitral valve repair and coronary surgery

Why London Bridge Hospital for minimal access cardiac surgery

  • A handful of the most experienced minimal access cardiac surgeons in the country 
  • Surgeons experienced in performing high volumes of minimally invasive procedures
  • For suitable patients, choice of open sternotomy or minimal access 
  • Level 3 intensive care facilities specialising in post-operative cardiac patients
  • The teams, facilities and expertise to perform the latest procedures
  • Cardiac rehabilitation led by experienced Clinical Nurse Specialist, Suzanne O’Connor

Our location

London Bridge Hospital

27 Tooley Street

London SE1 2PR

Contact us

For self-pay or insured patient appointments, or to make an enquiry call

020 7089 2017
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