Valve Replacement

If a diseased heart valve can't be repaired, it must be replaced. These days, valve replacement operations are fairly commonplace. If you have heart valve disease, we'll consider performing heart valve replacement surgery to help improve your health and energy.

There are three types of replacement valves. Each offers benefits and drawbacks. Only you and your surgeon can determine which type of valve provides the best solution for your situation.

  • Human heart valves
  • Tissue valves
  • Mechanical valves

Our surgeons have experience performing several types of heart valve replacement operations, including:

  • The Ross Procedure
  • Homograft Replacement
  • Mitral Valve Replacement Surgery

The Ross Procedure

This specialized aortic valve replacement surgery is used most often with children and adults under age 35. The procedure involves replacing the patient's diseased aortic valve with the patient's own pulmonary valve, called an autograft. Then we replace the pulmonary valve with a homograft pulmonary valve. That is, a pulmonary valve from a human donor.

Compared to traditional valve replacement using manufactured prosthetic valves, the Ross Procedure is most beneficial for young people and active older patients: The pulmonary valve lasts longer than prosthetic valves, which tend to fail after a few years in younger patients.

Patients do not need to take anti-clot medications, so they can lead normal, active lives free of the risks of anticoagulation treatment.

Mitral Valve Replacement Surgery

As with other types of valve replacement surgery, mitral valves can be replaced with mechanical valves or tissue valves. Each option has its own benefits and drawbacks:

Mechanical Mitral Valves

Mechanical heart valves are the most durable and dependable option for mitral valve replacement. However, patients who receive mechanical valves are required to take blood thinning medication and have frequent blood tests.

Tissue Mitral Valves

Tissue valves are made out of biological tissue. This type of valve operates so similarly to the human heart valve that blood thinning medication is usually not required, but this type of valve typically needs to be replaced later on (usually within 15 years).

Risks of Valve Replacement Surgery

Once you've had heart valve surgery, you'll have an increased risk of developing an infection of the valve. This is known as endocarditis. As a precaution, you will need to take antibiotics before undergoing some dental or surgical procedures. In most cases, we will also prescribe an anticoagulant medication to prevent blood clots.

For more information, or to refer a patient, please contact us at (585) 275-5384.


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