Tonawanda News

November 30, 2009

HEALTH: Kenmore Mercy offering less invasive surgical option


For most people, the belly button serves no practical purpose after birth, but a new type of nearly scarless surgery is changing that notion.

A Niagara Falls woman recently underwent single incision laparoscopic surgery to remove her gallbladder through her belly button, making her the first to undergo that type of procedure at Kenmore Mercy Hospital. SILS is a new technique in which the surgeon makes one small incision through the belly button, potentially resulting in no visible scarring, less pain and quicker recovery.

Dr. Richard Bloomberg performed 71-year-old Joyce Muhammad’s gallbladder removal in this fashion. Muhammad, who is awaiting a kidney transplant, said she was told the procedure would make her kidney operation simpler.

“Dr. Bloomberg recommended that I have the gallbladder removed now in a less invasive way to avoid complications during the kidney transplant,” Muhammad said.

The surgery, made possible through the use of a flexible laparoscopic port, can also be used to perform other abdominal surgeries like appendix removal, bowel surgeries, and urologic, gynecologic, and bariatric procedures.

“This procedure uses only one hidden incision through the belly button versus traditional laparoscopic procedures involving four separate half inch or smaller incisions,” Bloomberg said. “While laparoscopy traditionally offers better patient outcomes including less pain, less scarring, and quicker recovery, SILS procedures have the potential to dramatically extend these benefits.”

According to Keith DiPirro, surgical device specialist with Covidien, the company that manufactures the equipment used in the surgery, Kenmore Mercy Hospital and Mercy Hospital of Buffalo are currently the only hospitals in Western New York to offer patients this type of procedure. Mercy Hospital surgeon Dr. Kenneth Eckhert III, pioneered the SILS procedure in the Buffalo area in January 2009.