The doctor, who began performing VATS Lobectomies in 2010, was pioneer in Portugal in introducing Uniportal VATS Anatomical Resections in 2012. But it doesn't end here, as the level of progress that this doctor has brought to Portugal have already seen him on several television programmes.
"The classic approach to performing heart surgery is a 25 to 30cm incision in the chest, but I pioneered in Portugal a 5cm opening in the chest to introduce a video camera. This technique is called Minimally Invasive Mitral Valve Surgery and I went to learn it in Germany in 2014 and brought it to Portugal," Dr Javier Gallego said. Since then, he has worked hard to learn new procedures, apply them, and taught his colleagues.
A minimally invasive surgery results in several benefits for the patient, because “instead of making a full chest opening, only a small opening is made to replace the aortic valve. This will result in a faster recovery for the patient, less pain after surgery, a lower risk of complications and a smaller scar."
However, in Portugal 95 percent of heart surgeries are carried out using traditional methods. Often called Open-Heart Surgery, it requires the surgeon to open the chest so they can reach the heart. However, it is not ideal as the patient can endure a lot of suffering after the procedure.
On the other hand, minimally invasive heart surgery causes less physical trauma to the body, which results in very easy and faster recovery. As an example, "after Open-Heart Surgery, the patient is unable to drive for a month and a half, but with our technique the patient can lead a normal life after 10 days. In addition, Open-Heart Surgeries are much more painful with a higher risk of infection, because of the risks involved, patients cannot lift their arms, cannot do anything with their arms for a month and a half. With this minimally invasive approach they not only have less pain, they are able to lead a normal life," Dr Javier Gallego, who is an Associate Professor at the Algarve Medical School, told The Portugal News.
Despite the substantial differences between these techniques, the Open-Heart approach is still the one you will probably be submitted to in a public hospital. However, at the HPA Health Group you can benefit from Dr Javier Gallego and his highly experienced UMICS team who are experts in Cardiothoracic Minimally Invasive techniques.
There are many methods that, depending on each situation, that can be performed without so much suffering for the patient. It is therefore important to seek the best and most up-to-date methods and doctors who will follow up on your specific case.
If you (or a loved one) find yourself in a situation that may require heart surgery, you can consult Dr Javier Galego at Hospital Particular do Algarve.