South Florida Hospital News
Friday September 20, 2019

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February 2019 - Volume 15 - Issue 8




“Miami Method” for Cardiac Surgery Benefits UHealth Patients

Not all cardiac surgeries require splitting open the chest cavity to access the heart. In fact, many cardiac surgery procedures can now be done via a minimally invasive approach which helps patients recover quicker.

Dr. Joseph Lamelas, the doctor who helped pioneer a minimally invasive approach to cardiac surgery and developed the surgical instruments to make this possible, is now the new chief of cardiac surgery at the University of Miami Health System.
Lamelas is renowned for developing and perfecting the minimally invasive approach to cardiac surgery he named The Miami Method, which is carried out through a less than a two-inch incision between the ribs and without breaking any of the ribs or opening the chest cavity. Aortic valve and mitral valve replacements, double valve surgery, even triple valve surgery have all been adapted to this minimally invasive method - including replacement of the ascending aorta, a technique Lamelas himself developed.
Minimally invasive cardiac surgery results in less physical pain and trauma, less blood loss, reduced risk of infection, shorter hospital stays, quicker recuperation, and better long-term outcomes than more traditional cardiac surgical procedures.
The techniques comprising The Miami Method were so innovative that the instruments to perform them did not yet exist so Dr. Lamelas visualized the devices and collaborated with an engineer who was his patient to produce them.
“Being from Miami, practicing there for 26 years, it was essential for people to hear about The Miami Method and to associate it with Miami. And now, being at the University of Miami, makes it that much better,” said Lamelas.
Lamelas, also a professor of surgery with the Miller School of Medicine, has trained more than 1,000 surgeons in The Miami Method believing it to be vital to teach the next generation of surgeons.
“The method may not be adopted by everybody,” he explained. “There is a learning curve, and it could be a steep one. But the surgeon who has dedication and devotion to mastering the different instruments and the various techniques and methods will succeed.”
Nevertheless, he is the only surgeon in the world that performs a minimally invasive surgery to replace the ascending aorta whereas other surgeons still open the chest. The only published literature on this technique for this condition is his.

For more information on Dr. Joseph Lamelas and the University of Miami cardiac surgery program, visit

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