SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Sutter Medical Center, Sacramento pediatric cardiothoracic surgeon Dr. Naruhito Watanabe is believed to be the first surgeon in the United States to repair an atrial septal defect (ASD) via a right mini-thoracotomy, with an incision just below the armpit. This minimally invasive approach reduces the healing time for the young patients and allows them to grow up without having embarrassing chest scars.
An ASD is a hole in the wall between the two upper chambers of the heart, called the atria. Some of these holes may spontaneously close as the infant grows; however, it is one of the more common congenital heart defects requiring surgical repair, with about 40,000 children are born each year with congenital heart defects in the United States alone.
One of Dr. Watanabe’s patients, 3-year-old Taneigha Avila of Sacramento, recently underwent this minimally invasive procedure and now has a repaired ASD with an incision that is barely noticeable. The patient’s recovery was phenomenal and the family has been very pleased with the results. Read more... about Surgical Breakthrough Allows Discreet Scar for Pediatric Heart Patients