JOSE ERBELLA, M.D., FACS
General, Oncologic & Minimally Invasive Surgeries
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Traditional open surgery involves making incisions that allow a surgeon's hand(s) to fit inside the body.
Many of my minimally invasive surgeries are done with several small incisions, less than an inch long, and tiny cameras and instruments. This is called laparoscopic surgery.
Laparoscopic surgery has traditionally been performed by making multiple small incisions in the abdomen. A small camera with a light on the end and special surgical instruments are then inserted into the small incisions, allowing me to perform many types of operations while viewing the inside of the abdomen on a video monitor in the operating room. This is how we can see what we are doing in the body without making much larger incisions. Laparoscopic surgery provides a less invasive option to traditional open surgeries. There is way less pain and recovery. For example, an open gallbladder surgery may require a week long stay in the hospital, while the same surgery performed laparoscopically is done as an outpatient. Sometimes I can even perform the surgery through one small incision in the navel or belly button. This is called Single-Incision Laparoscopic Surgeries (SILS).
WHAT IS SINGLE INCISION LAPAROSCOPIC SURGERY?
Single-incision laparoscopic surgery is even less invasive than conventional laparoscopic procedures. During SILS, a single incision is made in the bellybutton. An umbilical tube or port is placed into the incision, and then special surgical tools are placed into the port. As with conventional laparoscopic surgery, a flexible camera is used to transfer images from the inside the body onto a video monitor. When the surgery is over, the instruments and port are removed. Often, the incision site scar is hidden by the natural shape and texture of the belly button, so some people refer to it as "scarless" surgery.
Like laparoscopic surgery, SILS can be used to perform many procedures, including:
• gallbladder removal
• hernia repairs
• weight-loss surgery
• lysis of adhesions
• anti-reflux procedures
• stomach and spleen surgery
• colon surgery
BENEFITS OF LAPAROSCOPIC AND SINGLE INCISION SURGERY:
A single-incisions surgery often can be completed in the same amount of time as a traditional laparoscopic procedure. The use of fewer incisions and an incision made in the belly button offers many potential benefits, including:
• faster recovery times
• less risk for infection
• less risk for bleeding
• less pain
• reduced costs
• better cosmetic results
Despite these benefits, single incision laparoscopic surgery procedure may not be the best choice for every patient. Conventional laparoscopic surgery or open surgery may be more appropriate if the patient has excessive body weight, severe adhesions, significant infection or scar tissue from prior abdominal surgeries.