Heart Surgery High Tech

In order to perform a heart bypass, the surgeon has to remove, or "harvest," healthy veins from the leg.

That in itself creates a wound that is often more painful than the chest incision.

It also demands healing time that, in turn, delays a patient's recovery.

But a new technique is in use at Rush Foundation Hospital to remove the veins endoscopically.

Cardiovascular surgeon Dr. Dan Van Cleve said the small incisions at the knee and below the groin heal faster and make it possible for patients like Jimmy Garrett to get on the road to recovery faster.

Garrett has surgery six weeks ago. He says he was up and walking within a couple of days. Garrett has since exercised on a treadmill and stationary bicycle with no irritation to the incisions.

About a hundred patients have had this type bypass surgery at the Rush Heart Institute in Meridian.

Dr. Van Cleve said overwhelmingly, the recovery time has been greatly reduced. This procedure also lowers the chance of post-operative infections and increases the comfort level for the recovering patients.