LUMBERTON — A surgical team at Southeastern Regional Medical Center , a part of Southeastern Health, performed its first da Vinci Single-Site cholecystectomy on Feb. 21. The patient’s gallbladder was removed through one tiny incision in the belly button, making the procedure virtually scarless.
Led by Dr. Eric Velazquez and using robotic assistance, surgeons removed the gallbladder through an incision of approximately 1 inch.
The Food and Drug Administration cleared the specialized instruments for use with the da Vinci Surgical System in December 2011.
“Neither robotic surgery nor single-incision surgery is new, but combining the two to remove the gallbladder requires additional training and special equipment,” Velazquez said. “To be one of the first hospitals to offer this technically advanced surgery demonstrates Southeastern Health’s leadership in providing patients with the most up-to-date minimally invasive surgical options.”
Velazquez 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,” Velazque said. “We are truly excited to be a leader today in the surgical treatment of tomorrow.”
Potential benefits 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 3D, 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 United States have their gallbladder removed each year. Most are performed with traditional laparoscopy using several incisions.
Southeastern Regional offers various types of robotic-assisted surgeries. In addition to gallbladder removal, surgeons perform robotic-assisted surgery in hysterectomy, myomectomy (removal of fibroids); endometriosis resection; bilateral salpingo-oopherectomy (removal of the fallopian tubes and ovaries); adrenalectomy; splenectomy; hiatal hernia; and nissen fundoplication for reflux disease. Southeastern Region also offers a wide range of minimally-invasive conventional laparoscopic surgeries.
For information on robotic and other minimally invasive surgeries at SRMC, call 910-671-5499 or visit www.southeasternhealth.org.