When it comes to gallbladder surgery, minimally invasive techniques are commonly used – making the procedure safer and the recovery quicker than ever before. Now, thanks to advancing technologies, some gallbladder surgeries can be performed with only one incision!

Single site robotic cholecystectomy is a minimally invasive robotic gallbladder removal where the surgeon operates through a single entry point on the body, a person’s navel. It’s a virtually scar-less procedure where the surgeon is in complete control and translates his or her movements in to smaller, more precise movements of tiny instruments inside your body.

Rather than the four to five small incisions used in a traditional laparoscopic approach, single site robotic surgery is considered the most non-invasive option for gallbladder removal. The results of the procedures are identical to traditional laparoscopic gallbladder surgery, except there’s only one incision.

“Gallbladder surgery used to be an open procedure, which required a longer recovery. We then moved to laparoscopic surgery and to some degree robotic surgery, both through four or five incisions,” says Jacob Dowden, MD, Hepatopancreatobiliary (HPB) surgeon with University Surgical Associates, who is now performing robotic single incisions surgeries. “It’s exciting that single site robotic surgery offers certain patients a gallbladder removal with virtually no visible scarring whatsoever.”

In traditional laparoscopy, four incisions are made in the abdomen. Surgical instruments are passed through those incisions, allowing the surgeon to remove the gallbladder. In single site robotic gallbladder removal, all the instruments are passed through one small incision about one inch in size, and the surgeon has a 3D high definition camera inside your body and can operate with extremely precise movements. In most cases, there’s little to no evidence of a scar when the incision heals.

Key Benefits of Single Site Robotic Surgery

There are distinct benefits for those who qualify for single site robotic surgery, including:

  • Fewer incisions – typically this surgery requires only one incision in a person’s belly button.
  • Potentially faster recovery – with only one incision to heal, recovery times may be shortened.
  • Better cosmetic outcome – fewer incisions mean fewer scars.

Like other outpatient minimally invasive surgeries, most people who have robotic surgery experience no complications and are discharged from the hospital on the same day. According to Dr. Dowden, single site robotic surgery for gallbladder removal is another important step in the evolution of minimally invasive general surgery. But it’s important to understand that this technique isn’t for every patient.

“Single site robotic surgery isn’t appropriate for emergency gallbladder removal, or when the gallbladder is highly inflamed. It’s best reserved for a planned, outpatient procedure to address chronic gallbladder issues.” says Dr. Dowden. “I talk through all the options with my patients to determine the surgical approach that is best for each individual and also both safe and effective.”

As the technique of single site robotic surgery continues to be refined, surgeons may be able to perform other operations using this advanced approach. The surgeons at University Surgical are highly trained and stay current with the latest technology and techniques to provide the most effective surgeries possible. When you choose USA, you can be confident that you’re receiving the safest and most up-to-date treatment options for your condition.

For more information or to schedule an appointment, call (423) 267-0466.