July 28, 2008

Take NOTES: Some Surgery Less Invasive

A gallbladder removal at a New York hospital without external incisions is being offered as a part of a research trial on the procedure, doctors said.

The procedure that removed a woman's gallbladder through her uterus last year could mean lower pain, faster recovery time and the lack of visible scars, the New York-Presbyterian Hospital-Columbia University Medical Center said Monday in a news release.

In the technique -- called NOTES for natural-orifice translumenal endoscopic surgery -- the endoscope was inserted through an incision behind the uterus and into the woman's body cavity, doctors said. The gallbladder was detached and removed through the incision, which then was sutured.

This procedure marks the culmination of 15 years of advances that have made surgery less invasive in order to improve safety and reduce recovery time, says Dr. Marc Bessler, director of laparoscopic surgery and director of the Center for Obesity Surgery at the hospital.

Besides gallbladder surgery, the clinical trial offers the NOTES procedure for appendectomy, abdominal exploration and biopsy procedures. The procedure now is available through the uterus, but doctors said it could be performed through the mouth or rectum, making it available to men.