Washington, Feb 29 : Surgeons at UT Southwestern Medical Center have successfully conducted the first single-incision gallbladder removal in North Texas.
A traditional gallbladder removal involves four incisions in the abdomen.
The surgery was conducted on Melanie Willhite, a 28-year-old professional golfer who had gallbladder attacks that caused recurring abdominal pain, for more than a decade.
"It went better than we expected," said Dr. Homero Rivas, assistant professor of surgery, who completed the 80-minute procedure with Dr. J. Esteban Varela, assistant professor of surgery.
"Through a single hole, we were able to introduce more than one instrument into the patient's abdomen at once, and we were able to remove her gallbladder very safely, just like we do routinely through four incisions."
As a part of the operations, surgeons inserted specialized tools developed for single-incision surgery through a 1/2-inch incision in the bellybutton.
The tools included a flexible camera and an instrument to cut and suture.
Eventually, the technique could be used for other common gastrointestinal surgeries, such as appendectomies, some colon resections, weight-loss surgeries and gastrectomies, in which part of the stomach is removed.