Francis P. Sutter, DO, FACS

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Practice Philosophy

As a cardiac surgeon, I am keenly aware that when performing heart surgery, I am not just operating on an organ. I am caring for a human life. I know from doing many traditional open- heart surgeries that these operations can be tough on patients. It is why I am passionate about robotic cardiac surgery. Using a robot to perform heart surgery can make an enormous difference in how much impact the surgery has on a person during and after their operation.

But robotic surgery is just a tool. And like every other surgical tool, going back to the first scalpel, it is dependent on practice and a skilled user to achieve the best results. That is why I strive to be the best robotic cardiac surgeon I can be. I know that surgical excellence is rooted in one basic principle, which is to improve on the current way of doing things by making surgery safer and easier for the patient.

This doctor is employed by Main Line HealthCare, the multispecialty physician network of Main Line Health, including more than 350 community and hospital-based physicians.

Locations and Appointments

Lankenau Heart Pavilion, Mezzanine Level
100 East Lancaster Avenue
Wynnewood, PA 19096
  • Phone: 484.476.1000
  • Fax: 484.476.9000
  • Accessibility: Public Transportation

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About Francis P. Sutter, DO, FACS

I am chief of cardiac surgery at Lankenau Medical Center, a leadership role I have been honored to serve since 2001. My long and rewarding career as a heart surgeon has been and continues to be dedicated to advancing surgical treatment of coronary artery disease (CAD). In particular, I specialize in minimally invasive coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) surgery using a surgical robot.

My interest in minimally invasive cardiac surgery began as early as 1997, years before Lankenau purchased its first surgical robot. Since 2005, I have performed—with support from a dedicated cardiac surgical team—more than 2300 robotic coronary bypass procedures, with excellent outcomes. This is more than any other surgeon or medical institution in the country. I am proud of this achievement because it means I have helped a lot of people with CAD avoid a difficult surgery and recovery.

One reason I have a passion for robotic surgery is that I have treated so many patients using a "traditional" approach to heart surgery. With traditional cardiac bypass surgery, the surgeon must make a 10-inch incision into the chest and cut the breastbone to get to the heart to start the operation. To perform the operation, the surgeon must literally stop the heart and circulate the blood with a heart-lung machine.

In contrast, using the robot, I can perform a successful bypass operation through only two tiny holes and one very small incision, while the patient's heart beats normally. Patients recover from the procedure feeling as if almost nothing had happened.

I am pleased to offer patients the most advanced techniques available for treating CAD, including:

  • Robotic CABG surgery—a highly sophisticated approach to CABG surgery using tiny incisions
  • Hybrid revascularization (robotic CABG plus stent placement) for multivessel CAD
  • Off-pump ("beating heart") CABG—bypass surgery done while the heart continues to beat normally

While most bypass operations in the United States are still performed traditionally, more than 50 percent of all cardiac artery bypass procedures at Lankenau Medical Center over the past 10 years have been performed robotically. While robotic surgery may not always be an option to traditional surgery, at Lankenau, it is the option we try to consider first. It is why I encourage everyone who is told they need open heart surgery to seek a second opinion about less invasive alternatives such as robotic surgery.

Finally, I would be remiss not to mention my other passions. I am an avid surfer and rower and, when not in the hospital, can typically be found riding waves at the beach or rowing on the Schuylkill river. I also love the Philadelphia region. I grew up here and am a proud graduate of LaSalle University and Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine.

  • Gender: Male
  • Years of Experience: 35
  • Language: English
Specialties Accepting New Patients
Cardiac Surgery Board certified since 1996
General Surgery Board certified since 1995
Primary Affiliation
Academic Titles
  • Clinical Professor of Surgery, Jefferson Medical College
Clinical Titles
  • Campus Chief, Cardiothoracic Surgery, Lankenau Medical Center


Medical school
  • Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine
  • Parkview Hospital - Philadelphia
  • Thomas Jefferson University Hospital
  • Thomas Jefferson University Hospital

*Members of the Main Line Health medical staff are affiliated with Bryn Mawr Hospital, Lankenau Medical Center, Paoli Hospital and Riddle Hospital. Membership on the medical staff of any of our hospitals does not constitute an employment or agency relationship.

Awards & Memberships

Honors, Awards, Citations
  • 2018 OJ Snyder Memorial Medal, Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine (PCOM)
  • 2016 Top Doctor, Main Line Today
Current Membership & Activities
  • American College of Cardiology
  • The American Osteopathic Association
  • American College of Osteopathic Surgeons
  • American College of Surgeons
  • American Medical Association
  • Pennsylvania Osteopathic Medical Association
  • North American Society of Pacing & Electrophysiology
  • American Heart Association
  • Pennsylvania Medical Society
  • Philadelphia Academy of Cardiology
  • Philadelphia Academy of Surgery
  • The American Association of Clinical Anatomists
  • The Society of Thoracic Surgeons
  • Pennsylvania Association for Thoracic Surgery
  • Philadelphia County Osteopathic Medical Society

Patient Satisfaction Ratings and Comments