Single Incision Gallbladder removal

Virtually Scarless Surgery

A new procedure is changing the way surgeons perform a single-site cholecystectomy and offering added benefits to patients. This innovative procedure removes a patient’s gallbladder through one tiny incision at the belly button. It offers a quicker recovery with virtually no scar.

The da Vinci® Single-Site™ robotic surgery system makes this new minimally invasive procedure possible. A traditional laparoscopic procedure for gallbladder removal requires four small incisions and typical recovery is one week. Now, there is a procedure that offers only one small incision that is usually less than an inch.

Saint Elizabeth Regional Medical Center has been performing the single-incision surgery since April of last year and is one of two hospitals in the state of Nebraska offering this cutting-edge surgery. Patients experience less pain, faster recovery, a shorter hospital stay and minimal scarring.

Greg Fitzke, MD, general surgeon, shares that his patients have been very excited about this new procedure. “Typically with laparoscopic surgery, you have four incisions. With this procedure, there is only one, small incision at the belly button. The virtually scarless procedure is very attractive to patients,” says Dr. Fitzke.

During the procedure, the surgeon sits at a console, viewing 3D, high-definition images while using controls to move robotic arms with surgical instruments attached. The system translates the surgeon's hand, wrist and finger movements into precise, real-time movements of the surgical instruments inside the patient.

A typical surgery can be performed in about one hour. A patient arrives at the hospital in the morning and they can be home by dinner time.

Kimberly Hovendick, a teacher at Lincoln Public Schools, shared that the procedure really appealed to her because it offered a quicker recovery and minimal scarring. “I had my procedure on a Wednesday and reported to school the following Tuesday.”

Photo: Kimberly Hovendick, a single-site cholecystectomy patient at Saint Elizabeth, shares, “I am very pleased that I don’t have a scar. Now, six months after my surgery, you can’t even tell that I had surgery at all. I would recommend this procedure to anyone.”

Rick Windle, MD, general surgeon, shares that his patients are pleased with the operation, especially with the speed of recovery and lack of multiple incisions. “This procedure is as close to incisionless as we can be presently. Since it is a single incision, it reduces the scarring and discomfort,” says Dr. Windle.

Dian Hofferber also recently underwent single-incision surgery. “I’m glad I chose robotic surgery for my gallbladder removal, because I was able to get back to my daily routine quicker. I had surgery at 9 a.m. and I was home by 4 p.m. in the afternoon. I felt pretty good by the third and fourth days,” says Hofferber.

For Hovendick, the procedure was scarless. “I am very pleased that I don’t have a scar. Now, six months after my surgery, you can’t even tell that I had surgery at all. I would recommend this procedure to anyone.”

To learn more about the single-incision gallbladder removal surgery offered at Saint Elizabeth, visit www.SaintElizabethOnline.com or call 409-219-7000.