Minimally Invasive Mitral Valve Surgery

Daniel O'Hair, MD, Cardiovascular and Thoracic Surgeon
Medical Director, Robotic Surgery Center of Wisconsin

The mitral valve is a complex structure that controls blood flow through the left side of the heart. Sometimes the mitral valve is abnormal from birth or becomes damaged by infection. More often, mitral valve structures become damaged with age or from coronary artery disease.

An abnormal or damaged mitral valve can now be repaired or replaced using state-of-the-art minimally invasive technology. Available at Aurora Health Care, advanced approaches to these complex procedures offer a new level of care and improve the patient experience.

Robotic-Assisted Mitral Valve Surgery

With the da Vinci® Surgical System, surgery is performed without opening the chest.
By way of several tiny incisions, surgical instruments and 3D visual equipment access the surgical site with minimal disruption to surrounding tissue. Surgeons are able to clearly view important anatomical structures, and with total control of the robotic arms, they perform the most complex and delicate procedures with enhanced dexterity and unmatched precision.

Experience Counts

Since initiating our robotic-assisted surgery program in 2002, Aurora Health Care physicians have collectively performed more than 4,700 robotic-assisted procedures using the daVinci Surgical System.

Aurora St. Luke's was the first hospital in Southeastern Wisconsin to apply the precision of robotic-assisted technology in mitral valve surgery and was also the first in the world to use the da Vinci® Surgical System to perform a double heart valve repair.

The robotic-assisted heart surgery team is led by Daniel O’Hair, MD, a board-certified cardiovascular and thoracic surgeon with years of experience in robotic-assisted heart surgery procedures.

Robotic-Assisted vs. Traditional Mitral Valve Surgery

  Open Procedure Robotic-assisted procedure
Number of incisions: 1 4 or 5
Size of incisions: 8–10” ½”


Additional benefits of robotic-assisted mitral valve surgery:

  • Significantly less pain
  • Less trauma to surrounding tissue
  • Less blood loss
  • Shorter hospital stays
  • Faster recoveries
  • More rapid return to everyday activities
  • Less scarring
  • Less risk of infection

To learn more about robotic-assisted surgery, see our frequently asked questions.

If you are considering a robotic-assisted surgery, consider asking your physician the following questions:

  • What experience do you have with robotic-assisted surgery?
  • What types of robotic-assisted surgery procedures have you done?
  • How many robotic-assisted surgery procedures have you done?
  • What type of outcomes have your patients experienced?

To find out if robotic-assisted surgery may be right for you, visit Aurora’s Second Opinion Program or call 888-973-2663.