Minimally Invasive Axillary Repair

Minimally invasive axillary repair heart surgery describes the initial approach in repairing certain congenital heart defects in children. In the minimally invasive axillary repair, the surgeon enters the chest through the right side instead of the middle of the chest. The benefit of this is that it can help the child recover faster, without a large scar in the middle of the chest. Children as young as a few months old may be able to have this type of procedure.

The board-certified and fellowship-trained specialists at Norton Children’s Heart Institute, affiliated with the UofL School of Medicine, will determine if a minimally invasive axillary repair is appropriate for your child.  When not appropriate, they will be able to discuss and offer the alternative open heart surgeries most appropriate to treat your child’s congenital heart defect.

Norton Children’s Heart Institute is the leading provider of pediatric heart care in Louisville and Southern Indiana.

Norton Children’s has a network of outreach diagnostic and treatment services conveniently located throughout Kentucky and Southern Indiana.

What Heart Conditions Can Be Repaired Through a Minimally Invasive Axillary Approach?

The most common defect repaired through a minimally invasive axillary approach is an atrial septal defect. Additional defects also can be repaired through this approach. Although not all atrial septal defects can be repaired through this approach, our surgeons will be able to identify the approach that is best to repair your child’s congenital heart defect.

What Happens During a Minimally Invasive Axillary Repair?

Although the surgeon is not entering the center of the chest, the minimally invasive axillary repair is still heart surgery. Your child will be put to sleep by our cardiac anesthesiologists, who specialize in giving anesthesia to children with cardiac defects. After your child is asleep and positioned in the operating room, a Norton Children’s Heart Institute cardiothoracic surgeon will:

  • Reach the heart by going between the third and fourth ribs on the right side of the body instead of opening up the middle of the chest.
  • Perform heart surgery through the right atrium to repair the congenital heart defect.
  • Close the right-sided incision after the repair is performed.

This procedure usually repairs the congenital heart defect in one operation. Your child will have a follow-up test called an echocardiogram that will show the completed repair after the operation. The scar from the surgery incision will be on the side of your child’s chest, under the armpit. The scar will be in an area that is hidden under the right arm when your child is standing.

Minimally Invasive Axillary Repair Complications and Follow-up Care

Recovery from a more invasive type of surgery can last four to six weeks in younger children and six to eight weeks in older children. The recovery time after a minimally invasive axillary approach can be shortened to less than one week. After this procedure, your child will see a pediatric cardiologist for follow-up visits when needed.

Why Choose Norton Children’s Heart Institute

The Adult Congenital Heart Association has recognized Norton Children's Heart Institute for its expertise treating adult congenital heart disease.

  • Norton Children’s Hospital has been a pioneer in pediatric cardiothoracic surgery, performing Kentucky’s first pediatric heart transplant in 1986 and becoming the second site in the United States to perform an infant heart transplant.
  • The American Board of Thoracic Surgery has certified our cardiothoracic surgeons in congenital heart surgery.
  • The Adult Congenital Heart Association has accredited Norton Children’s Heart Institute’s Adult Congenital Heart Program as the only comprehensive care center in Kentucky and Indiana treating adults born with a heart defect.
  • More than 5,000 children a year visit Norton Children’s Heart Institute for advanced heart care.
  • Norton Children’s Heart Institute has offices across Kentucky and Southern Indiana to bring quality pediatric heart care closer to home.
  • The Jennifer Lawrence Cardiac Intensive Care Unit (CICU) at Norton Children’s Hospital is the largest dedicated CICU in Kentucky, equipped with 17 private rooms and the newest technology available for heart care.
Heart – 2929

Norton Children’s Heart Institute

Call for an appointment

(502) 629-2929


Request an Appointment Online

Norton Children’s Heart Institute’s Owensboro location treats children with heart defects close to home

It all started with a routine ultrasound. Chelsea Rusher, who was pregnant with her son, Baylor, was getting a 20-week anatomy scan. During the scan, the provider noticed a complication: It appeared the baby would […]

Read Full Story

Born with half a heart, local boy may have biggest heart of all

It’s not a matter of how much heart you have, but how much heart you give. That is true for Johnathan Young. He was born with half of a working heart. Johnathan, age 11, is […]

Read Full Story

Healthy blood pressure in children differs from adults

The commonly known “goal” for healthy blood pressure in adults is 120/80, but this guideline does not apply to many children. “What is considered a healthy reading for adults could indicate an unhealthy blood pressure […]

Read Full Story

Send Valentine’s Day cheer to children at Norton Children’s facilities

Community members have an opportunity to send children who are patients at Norton Children’s facilities a Valentine’s Day greeting. The greetings can be selected at NortonChildrens.com/Valentine. From Feb. 1 to 10, 2022, people can choose […]

Read Full Story

How to prevent heart disease in children

In many cases, preventing heart disease in children can be accomplished with lifestyle changes. Preventable heart disease in children is increasing, likely tied to a widespread increase in childhood obesity. According to the Centers for […]

Read Full Story
Related Stories

Norton Children’s Heart Institute’s Owensboro location treats children with heart defects close to home

It all started with a routine ultrasound. Chelsea Rusher, who was pregnant with her son, Baylor, was getting a 20-week anatomy scan. During the scan, the provider noticed a complication: It appeared the baby would […]

Read Full Story

Born with half a heart, local boy may have biggest heart of all

It’s not a matter of how much heart you have, but how much heart you give. That is true for Johnathan Young. He was born with half of a working heart. Johnathan, age 11, is […]

Read Full Story

Healthy blood pressure in children differs from adults

The commonly known “goal” for healthy blood pressure in adults is 120/80, but this guideline does not apply to many children. “What is considered a healthy reading for adults could indicate an unhealthy blood pressure […]

Read Full Story

Send Valentine’s Day cheer to children at Norton Children’s facilities

Community members have an opportunity to send children who are patients at Norton Children’s facilities a Valentine’s Day greeting. The greetings can be selected at NortonChildrens.com/Valentine. From Feb. 1 to 10, 2022, people can choose […]

Read Full Story

How to prevent heart disease in children

In many cases, preventing heart disease in children can be accomplished with lifestyle changes. Preventable heart disease in children is increasing, likely tied to a widespread increase in childhood obesity. According to the Centers for […]

Read Full Story

Search our entire site.