The minimally invasive atrial fibrillation Maze (Mini Maze) is used alone for treatment of paroxysmal A-Fib. It can also be used in combination with catheter based ablation (Hybrid Mini Maze) for persistent A-Fib. During the mini Maze surgery, the surgeon accesses the heart through small incisions under the arm and between the ribs. It is significantly less invasive than the traditional open heart surgery. In addition to avoiding the pain and trauma of sternotomy and rib spreading, this may provide you with additional benefits, such as:

A variety of minimally invasive surgical instruments are used to create a systematic pattern of scars outside the heart. This pattern of scares or lesion sets will prevent abnormal impulses which cause irregular heartbeats from reaching the heart. 

Additionally, the surgeon utilizes a special probe to map the autonomic nerve bodies. This same probe is then used to scar the nerve bodies, further extinguishing the sources of erratic heart beats. The surgeon conducts further testing to confirm that all potential sources of A-Fib are isolated. 

A final critical component of surgery is the removal of the left atrial appendage. This finger-like structure or pouch is believed to be the primary location where blood clots form during A-fib. Data has shown that as many as 90 percent of the potentially stroke-causing clots found in the heart in association with A-fib are located in the left atrial appendage. 

Thus, by removing the left atrial appendage, the risk of stoke is greatly reduced, making it much safer for the patient to be off blood thinning medication such as Coumadin. This entire surgery for atrial fibrillation is performed without stopping the heart or using the heart-lung machine, resulting in a highly effective procedure that is simpler and safer for the patient. The procedure lasts 3-4 hours and generally requires 1 overnight say in the hospital.