Minimally Invasive Heart Valve Surgery

Clinical Heart and Vascular Center

Appointment New Patient Appointment or 214-748-2583

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Nationally Ranked in Cardiology, Heart, and Vascular Surgery

UT Southwestern Medical Center is recognized by U.S. News & World Report as one of the nation's top 25 hospitals for cardiology, heart, and vascular surgery.

Heart Valve Surgery at
UT Southwestern

Valve disease treatment has improved dramatically over the last 15 years. Today, UT Southwestern is one of a handful of centers in the U.S. where a surgical replacement or repair of a heart valve is routinely performed without cracking the patient's chest.

Using a mini-thoracotomy approach, Dr. Doolabh is able to repair or replace a valve through a 2-inch incision between the ribs without cutting through the breastbone (sternum). As a result, recovery time is reduced to 10 days versus six weeks for traditional open surgery. Dr. Doolabh has performed more of these surgeries than any other surgeon in Texas, and UT Southwestern continues to lead the field in cardiology, heart, and vascular surgery as the 21st-ranked program nationally, according to U.S. News & World Report.

Heart Surgery Explained

Most heart procedures – even those that are called minimally invasive – require that the patient be under anesthesia for four to six hours and for the surgeon to cut through part or all of the patient’s breastbone. The recovery time after these surgeries is six to eight weeks to allow the bone to heal. Dr. Doolabh’s approach takes two hours and requires only one small incision.

This less invasive procedure makes heart surgery more viable for people with complex health conditions, for whom traditional heart surgery poses much greater risks. Because these patients are not as resilient, they often put off surgery as long as possible, increasing their odds of developing heart failure. With Dr. Doolabh’s technique, patients can get in sooner and get help before their heart is damaged further.

Traditional Heart Valve Surgery vs. Dr. Doolabh’s Approach

UT Southwestern is one of a handful of centers in the U.S. where heart valve surgery is performed through a small incision without breaking any bones. Generally, heart valve surgery is performed by splitting the sternum (breast bone) to access the heart, but our surgical approach does not require breaking any bones. Click on the animations below to see how minimally invasive heart valve surgery differs from traditional heart valve surgery.

The Heart Valve Hotline

My team works closely to ensure that every patient gets the best experience possible. When you call us, our heart valve team, led by Steva Smartt, R.N., answers the phone 24/7. We stay with you throughout the entire process – from that first phone call to the first visit, and all the way to your discharge. If at any point you have a question, we are always available to you.

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Step Inside the OR

Minimally Invasive Aortic Valve Repair Surgery

Through a 2-inch incision, Dr. Neelan Doolabh routinely performs aortic valve replacement surgery. With one of the largest volumes for this surgical approach in the country, Dr. Doolabh has performed more than 3,000 minimally invasive valve repairs or replacements.

Minimally Invasive Mitral Valve Repair Surgery

Watch Dr. Doolabh perform a minimally invasive Mitral Valve Repair at UT Southwestern Clements University Hospital in Dallas, TX. Dr. Doolabh has performed more than 3,000 minimally invasive valve repair surgeries and his team is always ready to answer any questions you may have before or after surgery.

Not All Minimally Invasive Valve Surgery Is Created Equal

Meet Dr. Neelan Doolabh

Dr. Doolabh is the Director of the Minimally Invasive Heart Valve Surgery Program at UT Southwestern. He has performed more than 3,000 minimally invasive heart valve surgeries. Patient referrals are answered 24/7 by a registered nurse on his team.

Collage of patient pictures

Patient Testimonials

Watch videos and read patient reviews from just a few of the many people who have had their lives changed by minimally invasive heart valve surgery at UT Southwestern.

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Redefining Heart Surgery

When Aaron Salter learned he had a leaky mitral valve, he went searching for an alternative to open-heart surgery. He found it at UT Southwestern, where Dr. Neelan Doolabh, Director of Minimally Invasive Valve Surgery, offers a “mini-valve” approach that uses a 2-inch incision between the ribs, delivering shorter recovery time and excellent results.