Reoperative Minimally Invasive Cardiac Surgery is Benefitting Heart Patients

Dr. Joseph Lamelas Pioneers Procedure to Help Patients Avoid Open Surgery and Recover Faster

Reoperative minimally invasive cardiac surgery benefits heart patients
Reoperative minimally invasive cardiac surgery benefits heart patients

Dr. Joseph Lamelas is the Chief and Program Director of Cardiothoracic Surgery at the University of Miami Health System. For more information about Dr. Lamelas and his minimally invasive heart procedure, click here or visit the UHealth blog.


Rene Monteagudo got the shock of his life during an annual physical back in 2009.

“It was revealed that I had a congenital heart defect,” says Rene.

He needed surgery to replace a failing heart valve and went to see UHealth cardiothoracic surgeon Dr. Joseph Lamelas, who pioneered a minimally invasive heart procedure.

“The minimally invasive operations, whether it’s a primary or a reoperative procedure, they’re all done through a five-centimeter incision on the right lateral aspect of the chest,” says Dr. Joseph Lamelas, M.D.

“Why would someone need reoperative minimally invasive cardiac surgery?” asks Focusing on You anchor Pam Giganti.

“When the valves degenerate or when they wear out, that’s when the patient would require a reoperative procedure. And performing the operation through a minimally invasive approach has many benefits,” Dr. Lamelas says.

Last November, ten years after his first surgery, Rene’s heart valve got infected.

“Every time I would lay down, I would just get out of breath,” Rene says.

Instead of open surgery where the sternum is cracked to access the heart, Dr. Lamelas was able to perform the reoperative minimally invasive procedure on Rene to replace the infected valve.

“The risk of bleeding is a lot less, the risk of infection is a lot less, and just the overall recovery is remarkable,” says Dr. Lamelas.

Rene is now back to feeling like himself again.

“I owe my life to him and to his team. They’re phenomenal,” says Rene.


Focusing on You: Innovations in Modern Medicine is a series of healthcare-related stories airing regularly on WPLG Local 10. For more stories like this one, visit YouTube channels for UHealth, the University of Miami Health System.

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