Wuesthoff Health System Surgeons Remove Gallbladder through Belly Button Incision with da Vinci® System

ROCKLEDGE, FL (November 9, 2012) – Wuesthoff Health System announced today that a surgical team at its Rockledge hospital has recently performed da Vinci® Single-Site™ Cholecystectomy. In this surgery, the patient’s gallbladder is removed through one tiny incision in the belly button, making the procedure virtually scarless.

Led by H. Drexel Dobson lll, M.D., General Surgeon, 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. da Vinci is a robotic surgical system widely used in complex minimally invasive surgery.

"Neither robotic surgery nor single-incision surgery is new, but combining the two to remove the gallbladder requires additional training and special equipment," says Dr. Dobson. "To be one of the first hospitals to offer this technically advanced surgery demonstrates Wuesthoff Health System’s leadership in providing patients with the most up-to-date minimally invasive surgical options."

Dr. Dobson 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,” Dr. Dobson 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 3D, high-definition image of the patient’s anatomy. The surgeon uses controls below the viewer to move the instrument arts 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.

Wuesthoff Health System offers various types of robotic-assisted surgeries at its Rockledge and Melbourne locations. For information on robotic and other minimally invasive surgeries at Wuesthoff Health System, call (321) 636-2211 x-1609 (Rockledge), (321) 752-1200 x-1340 (Melbourne).