Medical Minute: Touch-Free Surgery

John Enns was lucky to see his wedding day. At age 23, he was diagnosed with a life-threatening heart defect.

John says, “All of a sudden I have a shortness of breath, walking up stairs, doing things like that.”

Medication didn’t help, and doctors said surgery wasn’t an option.

Dr. Michael Black, a cardiac surgeon, says, “This condition is thought to be a non-surgical problem. That’s what the books would say.”

But Dr. Michael Black operates where others dare not go. He used a technique called “touch-free” surgery on John.

There should be a cavity in the middle of John’s heart, but one side is too thick. To remove it, a surgeon must see where he’s cutting.

Dr. Black says, “Most people would be able to resect the first centimeter, centimeter and change, but no one has taken out muscle to the bottom.”

Dr. Black inserts long scissors and a tiny camera into the aorta so he can see inside John’s heart and do the impossible. Without putting a hand inside John’s body, Dr. Black cuts out extra muscle all the way to the bottom. He creates a cavity, making John’s heart normal.

John Enns says, “The day I woke up after the surgery I was in the intensive care unit, and honestly, I felt fine.”

The incisions are six inches or less. With standard surgery, incisions would run from the neck to the belly button.

“I really just put my faith in them, and I trusted them.”

John’s faith paid off. Today, he’s healthy and as active as ever.