Single-Site Robotic Surgery

Patients who have gallbladder surgery can now emerge from the procedure with virtually no scarring and minimal pain, thanks to a new technique in robotic surgery. West Chester Hospital’s surgical team recently performed the hospital’s first da Vinci®Single-Site cholecystectomy (gallbladder removal surgery) in April, 2012. Using robotic assistance, our general surgery team removed the patient’s gallbladder through a one-inch incision in the belly button, leaving only a small, nearly invisible scar.

da Vinci is a robotic surgical system widely used in complex, minimally invasive surgery; however, it was only in December 2011 that the Food and Drug Administration approved the specialized Single-Site instruments for use with the da Vinci Surgical System.

“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. Thomas Husted, general surgeon. “To be one of the first hospitals to offer this technically advanced surgery demonstrates West Chester Hospital’s leadership in providing patients with the most up-to-date minimally invasive surgical options.”

The incision was made in the patient’s belly button, limiting the pain to a very small area. In just three days, she was back doing the essential functions of life, such as making lunch for her daughter and doing laundry. Just three weeks after the surgery, the patient said the incision was not noticeable and what little pain she had was gone. “It was definitely worth having single site surgery,” she adds. “I feel wonderful. I have my life back.”

Single-site instruments used with the da Vinci platform are the next step in the evolution of surgical technologies, making West Chester Hospital a leader in providing the surgical treatment of tomorrow.

Final-docked-position_4205-300x199Unlike 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. The surgery can be performed in about one hour with a typical hospital stay of less than 24 hours.

Potential benefits of single-site gallbladder surgery may include:

  • virtually scar-free results
  • minimal pain
  • low blood loss
  • fast recovery
  • a short hospital stay
  • high patient satisfaction

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 hand-held controls to move the instrument’s arms and camera. In real-time, the system translates the surgeon’s hand, wrist and finger movements into precise movements of the miniaturized instruments inside the patient.

More than one million people in the U.S. have their gallbladders removed each year. Most are performed with traditional laparoscopy using several incisions. However, 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.