Modern Medicine: No Scar Gallbladder Surgery - WMBB News 13 - The Panhandle's News Leader

Modern Medicine: No Scar Gallbladder Surgery

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Panama City, Fla. -

Many years ago, gallbladder surgery required a 10 inch incision under the ribcage.  Then for the last 20 years, doctors have been performing minimally invasive gallbladder surgery requiring three to four small incisions.  Now, there's no scar at all.

I was very nauseous, and I would need to lay down. Get me away from this right now.

Savanna Barwick, 15 years old, was experiencing pain from her gallbladder.  She's a competitive dancer, and it was interfering with daily life.

Barwick says, "I was very nauseous, and I would need to lay down.  I felt bad for my friends because they always had to deal with me saying how much pain I was in.  They wouldn't be able to eat where they wanted because of me."

Pediatric and General Surgeon Dr. Michael Taylor removed Barwick's gallbladder at Gulf Coast Medical Center using the da Vinci robot to perform what's known as single site surgery.

"There's been a push in the last few years to do single site surgery just through the belly button, so once it heals, you don't have any scar," explains Dr. Taylor.

Doctors sit at a console and maneuver the arms of the da Vinci robot inside the patient.  Dr. Taylor has been performing the procedure for the past five months, and about 50 people have gone through the single site gallbladder surgery.

"I think it's remarkable, particularly for a young woman to come in, need her gallbladder out, take her to the operating room, do the surgery, she comes back...you can't tell she's had any surgery. She feels better, she feels happy, and that's truly what it's all about," Dr. Taylor explains.

Barwick is one happy patient, especially now that she's back on the dance floor.

She says, "I actually recovered in three days.  I was finally walking.  I was dancing around my room like I used to.  It was amazing."

Dr. Taylor says researchers are currently working to adapt and utilize this technology for other types of surgery in the future.