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 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
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.