Virtually Scarless Robotic Surgery Now Available at Lourdes

Posted on October 28, 2016

Virtually scarless robotic surgery is now available at Lourdes Medical Center from Dr. Kelsey Shay and Dr. Richard Shallman.

A surgical team at Lourdes Health performed gallbladder surgery using a “single-incision” procedure. The patient’s gallbladder was removed by General Surgeon Dr. Richard Shallman 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 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.

Dr. Shallman is one of a group of surgeons in the country who has received training to perform the surgery. Dr. Kelsey Shay, General Surgeon at Lourdes, was also recently certified making her and Dr. Shallman the only two general surgeons in the Tri-Cities certified to perform single-incision surgery.

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, please refer to

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 more information, visit