Methodist in the Media

Omaha Man Recovered Quickly After Robot-Assisted Heart Surgery

Published: Dec. 5, 2022

Most mitral valve repairs require cutting through the sternum and opening the chest, followed by a month or more of recovery with no driving or lifting more than a gallon of milk.

But Dr. HelenMari Merritt, a cardiothoracic surgeon with Methodist Physicians Clinic, offered another option: a robot-assisted surgery that, like a minimally invasive procedure, is done by inserting instruments through small holes in the chest.

The robot’s camera allows surgeons to see better inside the chest. The device’s instruments, with their range of motion, allow for more complex and delicate work in the chest cavity. “The dexterity of the robot is really crazy,” Merritt said.

Mark Corrao, who drives frequently as part of his work for an online internet auction for car dealers, already had spent months, even years, recovering from a 2018 surgery to remove a benign tumor inside his skull. He wasn’t looking for months more of recovery, and he didn’t want to miss his 12-year-old son’s hockey games.

“It’s the recovery time as much as anything,” he said. “I’ve got to get back to work and get back on the road and get back to life.”

Corrao opted for the robot-assisted surgery. He underwent the first robot-assisted mitral valve repair by Merritt and Methodist Health System in early November.

Omaha World-Herald: Omaha man recovered quickly after robot-assisted heart surgery