A surgeon has successfully removed a patient's lemon-size gallbladder through a single incision in the belly button.
Julie Kopec had her gallbladder removed via a minimally invasive procedure to operate inside the abdomen, and that too with no traces of a scar, less pain and a lower risk of infection.
Dr. P. Marco Fisichella, assistant professor of surgery, division of general surgery, Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine, Maywood, performed Kopec's surgery.
He removed Kopec's gallbladder, which is located behind the liver on the right side of the rib cage, through a single incision in her belly button that left her with no visible traces of a scar.
"The new frontier in laparoscopic surgery is no-scar surgery," said Fisichella while discussing the minimally invasive procedure that is still relatively rare.
Called single-incision laparoscopic surgery (SILS), the procedure is an improved form of laparoscopic surgery, which traditionally requires four incisions to allow room for a camera and various instruments.
"The instruments we use are specially designed for this type of procedure. Surgeons are starting to use this novel technique to do other types of procedures - surgery on the stomach, surgery on the colon and obesity surgery," said Fisichella.
The SILS procedure on average takes less than an hour to complete, and comes with a lower risk of infection because there is only one scar, which is completely hidden in the belly button.
And thus, there is a lessened need for pain medication, and mostly patients are able to more quickly resume their normal activities.
"I had it done on a Tuesday and I went shopping on Friday. I wasn't surprised at how quickly I recovered. The way I was feeling after my surgery I thought I could have been out shopping Wednesday," said Kopec.
She added: "I was in, in the morning, and out by afternoon."