Thanks to the latest breakthrough in robotic-assisted surgery, patients can now have their gallbladder removed in about the same amount of time as a lunch break. We call it a hole-in-one because surgeons can now perform this surgery with just one small incision, that’s less than an inch long, entering the body through the belly button.
This is an important breakthrough because every year about 1.2 million people have their gallbladders removed. The benefits of this new, robotic surgery technique include minimal scarring, less pain, less bleeding, and faster recovery. The surgery can be performed in less than one hour, and the patient can be on their way home just a few hours later.
"This is a major development for thousands of local patients," says Dr. Steven Webb, the first surgeon in Northeast Florida and one of the first in the entire country to perform this high-tech surgery. “When I tell folks they will feel less post-operative pain and get back on their feet more quickly, they are like sign me up!”
During the procedure, Dr. Webb sits at a console viewing 3-D, high-definition images while using controls below the display to move robotic arms with attached surgical instruments. The Intuitive daVinci® Robotic Surgical System translates the surgeon's hand, wrist and finger movements into precise, real-time movements of surgical instruments inside the patient.
Unlike traditional robotic surgeries that require three to four small incisions used as access ports for the robotic arms, the new technology allows for a single incision at the belly button where instruments are placed and the diseased organ is removed.
Most people who require gallbladder removal are candidates for the robotic, single-incision surgery. According to the American College of Surgeons, surgery is the recommended treatment for gallbladder pain from gallstones and nonfunctioning gallbladders.