A surgical team at Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center Monday performed Niagara County's first-ever da Vinci Single-Site cholecystectomy. The patient's gallbladder was removed through one tiny incision in the belly button or navel, making the procedure virtually scarless.
Led by Chief of Surgery Venkat Kolli, M.D., F.A.C.S, the team removed the gallbladder using Single-Site instruments on a da Vinci system. The minimally invasive procedure is traditionally called a laparoscopic cholecystectomy (removal of the gallbladder). Using robotic assistance, surgeons removed the gallbladder through an incision of approximately one inch.
The Food and Drug Administration cleared the specialized Single-Site instruments for use with the da Vinci system in December 2011. The da Vinci is a robotic surgical system widely used in complex minimally invasive surgery. More than 100 robotic- assisted surgeries have been performed at Memorial since its March start-up.
"Neither robotic surgery nor single-incision surgery is new, but combining the two to remove the gallbladder requires additional training and special equipment," Kolli said. "To be one of the first hospitals to offer this technically advanced surgery demonstrates Memorial's leadership in providing patients with the most up-to-date minimally invasive surgical options."
Kolli is one of a small group of surgeons in the country who has received training to perform the surgery.
"Single-Site instruments used with the da Vinci platform are the next step in the evolution of surgical technologies," he said. "We are truly excited to be a leader today in the surgical treatment of tomorrow."
Potential benefits of Single-Site gallbladder surgery may include virtually scarless results, minimal pain, low blood loss, fast recovery, a short hospital stay and high patient satisfaction. The surgery can be performed in about one hour with a typical hospital stay of less than 24 hours.
During the procedure, the surgeon sits comfortably at a console, viewing a three- dimensional, high-definition image of the patient's anatomy. The surgeon uses controls below the viewer to move the instrument arms and camera. In real time, the system translates the surgeon's hand, wrist and finger movements into more precise movements of the miniaturized instruments inside the patient.
Unlike traditional robotic surgeries requiring three to five small incisions, this new technology allows for a single incision in the belly button where instruments are placed and the diseased gallbladder is removed.
Most people who require gallbladder removal are candidates for the robotic, single-incision surgery. According to the American College of Surgeons, surgery is the recommended treatment for gallbladder pain from gallstones and non-functioning gallbladders.
More than 1 million people in the U.S. have their gallbladder removed each year. Most are performed with traditional laparoscopy using several incisions.
Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center offers various types of robotic-assisted surgeries, including urological and obstetrical procedures. Memorial also offers a wide range of minimally invasive conventional laparoscopic surgeries.