Home > Patients & Visitors > Health Library > Aortic valve replacement surgery
Aortic valve replacement surgery may be done as an open-heart surgery or as a less invasive surgery. In open-heart surgery, the surgeon makes an incision in the middle of the chest and cuts through the breastbone (sternum). In less invasive surgery, the surgeon makes smaller incisions and does not open the chest.
In a less invasive surgery, the surgeon may make an incision between the ribs. The surgeon uses this incision to work on the heart. The surgeon does not cut the sternum.
In an open-heart surgery, the surgeon opens the chest with a retractor to expose
the heart. The surgeon opens the lining that protects the heart
Next, the surgeon removes the damaged aortic
Finally, the surgeon inserts the artificial valve into the
aorta. The artificial valve (also called a prosthetic valve) may be either
mechanical or made of human or animal (pig) tissue. The surgeon sews the valve
to the annulus, which is a ring of tissue that connects to the leaflets of the
Current as ofJuly 22, 2018
Author: Healthwise StaffRakesh K. Pai, MD, FACC - Cardiology, ElectrophysiologyAdam Husney, MD - Family MedicineE. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal MedicineDavid C. Stuesse, MD - Cardiac and Thoracic SurgeryMartin J. Gabica, MD - Family Medicine
Current as of:
July 22, 2018
Medical Review:Rakesh K. Pai, MD, FACC - Cardiology, Electrophysiology & Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine & E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine & David C. Stuesse, MD - Cardiac and Thoracic Surgery & Martin J. Gabica, MD - Family Medicine
To learn more about Healthwise, visit Healthwise.org.
© 1995-2018 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.
Our interactive Decision Points guide you through making key health decisions by combining medical information with your personal information.
You'll find Decision Points to help you answer questions about:
Get started learning more about your health!
Our Interactive Tools can help you make smart decisions for a healthier life. You'll find personal calculators and tools for health and fitness, lifestyle checkups and pregnancy.
Feeling under the weather?
Use our interactive symptom checker to evaluate your symptoms and determine appropriate action or treatment.