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Surgical options can mean shorter recovery, less scarring

October 19, 2011
Surgery isn’t what it used to be, and that can be a good thing. Take gallbladder surgery, for instance. Several conditions can lead to the removal of a gallbladder, and for a long time open surgery was the only option. The operation typically means a six-inch incision, three or more days in the hospital, several weeks of recovery, and a substantial scar.

But since 1987, the gallbladder can also be removed using laparoscopic surgical methods, requiring just four small incisions to accommodate instruments. Many patients go home the same day, experience less pain, heal quicker, and have improved cosmetic results.

Now a third method, an even less invasive type of laparoscopic surgery, allows surgeons at St. Mary’s to perform some gallbladder surgeries with one small incision, usually in the patient’s navel, explains Lori Sterbenk, RN, clinical director of Surgical Services. With special equipment and training, surgeons can now perform some gallbladder, kidney, appendectomy, and gynecologic procedures using the laparoscopic single site surgery method. The single incision means a faster recovery and usually a very tiny scar.

“Minimally invasive surgery isn’t appropriate for everyone and all situations,” explains Sterbenk, “but St. Mary’s is happy to be able to offer patients the latest in surgical techniques and the best option for their procedure.”