Lastly, ask them if your chances are better with a replacement vs. a repair. The stats show that a repair is superior however in my husband's case he didn't get a repair due to the heavily calcified valve and annular ring. Due to being 43 he opted for a mechanical valve because at his age he would wear out a tissue valve. However, patients over 65, sometimes a little younger are candidate for tissue valve replacements. I am not a doctor either but I do hope you take care of yourself and keep us posted on your journey.
I sympathize with your situation and hope you find the best route soon. I do not have experience with redo's but I do with Barlow's and severe mitral regurg as my husband is recovering from open heart mitral valve replacement. Barlow's poses a unique consideration due to the nature of the tissue consistency and integrity. In addition to asking about redo's and stats, open heart vs. mini thoracotomy I would also include asking them if the redo is due to Barlow's and what they recommend as the best option for your next surgery. It is important to weigh all factors such as reasons for redo, age, health, recovery, other risk factors, etc in making your decision. Personally, I would be very interested in knowing why I need a 3rd operation. Best of luck you!
Hi Doug. Here's my risk perspective, though I'm not a doctor. There are fewer redo's and less experience doing them. So it is a riskier procedure than first time. The stats bear this out. Explore your team's experience. Have they done hundreds of re-repairs? Having a larger workspace and better view reduces risk, so going open would be a better choice on that score. But for some people the healing is slower, so factor that in if you are a slow healer since slower healing allows more time for something to go wrong. Me I had a first time mitral repair and embraced open heart surgery since it had the best odds. Peace -- DVB