Washington, Mar 29 : Surgeons at UC San Diego Medical Center have removed an inflamed appendix through a patient's vagina for the first time in the United States.
The 50-minute surgery, which was carried out on March 26, 2008, offers patients a rapid recovery.
The procedure, called Natural Orifice Translumenal Endoscopic Surgery (NOTES), involves passing surgical instruments through a natural orifice, such as the mouth or vagina, to remove a diseased organ such as an appendix or gallbladder.
Only one incision is made through the belly button for the purpose of inserting a two millimeter camera into the abdominal cavity so the surgeons can safely access the surgical site.
After the operation, the patient, Diana Schlamadinger, reported only minor discomfort.
Santiago Horgan, M.D., director of the UC San Diego Center for the Future of Surgery, is a world leader in minimally invasive surgeries, having performed 14 of these scarless NOTES procedures in the U.S. and Argentina.
"The path to innovation is dynamic, requiring quick response from the companies developing the tools," said Horgan, president of the Minimally Invasive Robotics Association.
"Partnership with industry keeps us rolling from one success to another. The evolution of surgery to incisionless techniques is on the horizon," Horgan added.
By avoiding major incisions through the abdomen, patients may experience a quicker recovery with less pain while reducing the risk of post operative hernias.
This procedure received approval for a limited number of patients by UC San Diego's Institutional Review Board (IRB) which oversees clinical research.
"The UC San Diego Center for the Future of Surgery is investigating and refining techniques that are rapidly transforming the world of surgery," said Mark A. Talamini, M.D., professor and chair of the Department of Surgery at UC San Diego Medical Center. Imagine a day when surgery requires no incisions or just one tiny incision that is only millimeters in length. Scarless, painless techniques are what the UCSD Center for the Future of Surgery is setting the stage for right this minute. Patients deserve it," he added.