Cardiac surgery has been an independent medical specialty since 1993. It has developed from general surgery, focusing on thoracic and cardiovascular surgery. It deals with the surgical treatment of congenital and acquired diseases and injuries of the heart and the vessels near the heart.
«Minimally invasive» is a broad term in cardiac surgery and can refer both to the size of the entryway as well as to the avoidance of using the heart-lung machine. For minimally invasive entryways, the surgical procedure is performed through the smallest possible opening of a few centimeters. Depending on the type of operation, this is either performed with a direct view of the operating field (e.g., aortic valve) or indirectly via visualization using endoscopic optics and screen-controlled (e.g., mitral valve). A minimally invasive procedure in bypass surgery means surgery on the beating heart without using the heart-lung machine. Appropriate stabilizers locally immobilize the area to be operated on (vascular anastomosis).