Lourdes Surgeon Removes Gallbladder With Robotic Surgical System

Posted on September 29, 2016

A surgical team at Lourdes Health performed their first gallbladder surgery using a “single incision” procedure.

The patient’s gallbladder was removed through one tiny incision in the naval, leaving the patient with no visual scarring. Traditional laparoscopic gallbladder removal may leave three to five incisional scars.

The surgical team was led by General Surgeon, Dr. Richard Shallman. The minimally invasive procedure is traditionally called a laparoscopic cholecystectomy (removal of the gallbladder). Using robotic assistance, Dr. Shallman removed the gallbladder through an incision of approximately one inch.

“Neither robotic-assisted surgery nor single-incision surgery is new, after all, we were removing gallbladders through a single incision 25 years ago. But now the robot allows us to offer selected patients the same quality procedure as a multi-port operation. When I ask my patients if they want one incision or four the answer is simple.” – Dr. Richard Shallman, Lourdes General Surgeon

Dr. Shallman is one of a group of surgeons in the country who has received training to perform the surgery. He is currently the only general surgeon in the Tri-Cities certified to perform Single-Site surgery.

“Single-Site instruments used with the robotic surgical system are the next step in the evolution of surgical technologies. We are truly excited to be a leader today in the surgical treatment of tomorrow.” – John Serle, Lourdes President & CEO

Potential benefits of single incision gallbladder surgery may include virtually scarless surgery, minimal pain, low blood loss, fast recovery, a short hospital stay and high patient satisfaction. 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 arms 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 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-assisted, 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.

All surgery presents risk. For more complete information on surgical risks, safety and indications for use, visit the da Vinci® site.

Lourdes robotic surgery program offers various types of general, urological, and gynecological surgeries. Lourdes also offers a wide range of minimally invasive conventional laparoscopic surgeries. For information on robotic and other minimally invasive surgeries at Lourdes, contact us or visit Lourdes Surgical Services.