Valve Replacement Surgery

Valves in the heart that become stenotic (narrow) or insufficient (leaky) can be replaced. Different kinds of valves made from animal tissue or synthetic materiel can be inserted as a replacement.

About This Procedure

Mechanical Valve Replacement

Surgeons at the Massachusetts General Hospital Corrigan Minehan Heart Center are experienced in performing mechanical valve replacement procedures. Mechanical valves are often inserted to treat malfunctioning valves in the heart. A durable solution, mechanical valves are typically made out of metal or carbon and perform the same function as a healthy, normal valve.

An advantage of mechanical valves is that they are quite durable, and patients typically do not need follow-up surgeries. However, patients who have a mechanical valve replacement need to take blood-thinning medications to prevent a clot from forming on the replaced valve.

Biological Valve Replacement

Physicians at the Corrigan Minehan Heart Center also perform biological valve replacement surgeries. These valves are made of human or animal tissues as well as artificial parts for support. For the most part, biological valves are either made of cow, pig or human tissues. Depending on the patient and his or her condition, physicians discuss and determine the appropriate valve type for replacement.

The advantage of a biological valve replacement is that patients typically do not need lifelong use of blood-thinning medications. However, valves are less durable and patients, especially younger patients, may need follow-up surgeries.

Understanding the Valves

Patients need to consult their physicians for a thorough evaluation prior to heart valve surgery. The choice and timing of the appropriate procedure can be a complex decision and must be individualized.

Patient Education

  • Patient Guide to Cardiac Surgery (PDF)

    Learn what to expect before, during and after your surgery at the Massachusetts General Hospital Heart Center by downloading and printing our patient guide to cardiac surgery.

  • Frequently Asked Questions About Cardiac Anesthesia

    The Massachusetts General Hospital Heart Center offers a patient guide to cardiac anesthesia. Our dedicated clinicians believe it is important for you to know what to expect before, during and after a cardiac anesthesia.


Contact Us

Corrigan Minehan Heart Center

55 Fruit Street Boston, MA 02114
  • Near Public Transit
  • Accessible
  • Phone: 866-644-8910

If you are a new patient, you may call the Corrigan Minehan Heart Center outpatient access office at 866-644-8910, or complete our online appointment form to request an appointment. A member of our access team will ask you more about your condition and symptoms, and match you with the best-fitting Corrigan Minehan Heart Center physician.

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