Minimally Invasive Axillary Repair

Submit request or call to make an appointment.

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

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

Related Stories

Preparing for a baby with a heart condition
Quality children’s cardiology care close to home across Kentucky and Southern Indiana
High blood pressure in teens can lead to serious health issues later
Norton Children’s Heart Institute’s Owensboro location treats children with heart defects close to home