Coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG) is a standard surgical procedure for treating blocked or narrowed arteries in the heart. The surgeon takes a healthy blood vessel from elsewhere in the body and attaches it to the artery after the blockage to create a detour for blood flow. This is conventionally done through open-heart surgery, in which the surgeon has to make a large incision and cut through the breastbone to access the heart. The patient is placed on a heart-lung bypass machine during the operation while the heart is temporarily stopped. CABG effectively improves blood flow to the heart, but the rigors, risks and long recovery time of open-heart surgery mean it's not an option for the many heart disease patients who are elderly, frail or have additional health problems.

Now there's an alternative: minimally invasive CABG. The surgeon accesses the heart through a small incision between the ribs without having to cut bones. There's no need to stop the patient's heart, and most patients don't have to be on a heart-lung bypass machine. The procedure is as effective as the traditional method, but there's a much faster recovery time, a lower risk of complications, and less pain and scarring.

Reflecting our cardiac care team's expertise with minimally invasive techniques, UCSF is one of the few medical centers in California offering minimally invasive CABG. In fact, we provide minimally invasive options for a number of different cardiac procedures.