‘The Perfect Stitch’: A Conversation with Dr. Francis Sutter
During a beating heart surgery – that is, off-pump coronary artery bypass surgery – anastomoses are an art form.
It’s one that Dr. Francis P. Sutter, DO, FACS, Lankenau Medical Center’s Chief of Cardiac Surgery, has perfected over the decades of his career. A passionate proponent of using a robotic surgical system, Dr. Sutter has performed more robotic-assisted bypass surgery procedures than any other surgeon in the United States.
Compared to a traditional coronary artery bypass surgery, the benefits of passing through a small incision can include less post-operative pain, a quicker return to daily activities and a reduced risk of stroke.
But it’s not without its challenges.
We sat down with Dr. Sutter for a conversation about his groundbreaking work.
“When you have the chest wide open, you can contort your arms, your hands and your wrists to get the perfect stitch,” said Dr. Sutter.
“When you’re going through a small opening, you really have to have the perfect stitch but you don’t have as many options to make the perfect stitch.”
That’s why he turned to Transonic’s flow measurement system for cardiothoracic surgery.
“Every day, I use it. Every day, I make sure the flows are perfect,” he said.
Transonic’s transit-time ultrasound technology provides peace of mind to Dr. Sutter and the rest of his surgical team. He described using Transonic's proprietary FlowSound® for audible volume flow measurements.
“I listen to the flow in the artery and many times if it’s very clear, you don’t need to look at the parameters – I do, but you just know,” he said.
“Everyone in the room knows because they can hear the sound of the flow. And when it’s pure as it can be, you just know that the anastomosis is perfect.”
For Dr. Sutter and his patients, the impacts are life-changing.
“I really think that it makes all the difference in the world to be able to use the Transonic,” he said.