Niagara Falls Woman First to Receive “Scarless” Surgery at Kenmore Mercy

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November 30, 2009

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

A Niagara Falls woman recently underwent Single Incision Laparoscopic Surgery (SILS™) to remove her gallbladder through her bellybutton, making her the first at Kenmore Mercy Hospital. SILS™ is a new minimally invasive technique in which the surgeon makes one small incision through the belly button, potentially resulting in no visible scarring. Other benefits may include less pain and quicker recovery.

Richard Bloomberg, MD, FACS, a general and advanced laparoscopic surgeon at Kenmore Mercy, performed the laparoscopic cholecystectomy (removal of the gallbladder) using the SILS™ technique on 71-year-old Joyce Muhammad. According to Muhammad, who is awaiting a kidney transplant, “Dr. Bloomberg recommended that I have the gallbladder removed now in a less invasive way to avoid complications during the kidney transplant.”

Joyce Muhammad Richard Bloomberg, MD, FACS
Joyce Muhammad Richard Bloomberg, MD, FACS

The SILS™ procedure, made possible through the use of a flexible laparoscopic port, can also be used to perform other abdominal surgeries including the removal of the appendix, 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,” Dr. 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 SILS™ port, Catholic Health’s Kenmore Mercy Hospital and Mercy Hospital of Buffalo are currently the only hospitals in Western New York to offer patients this state-of-the-art minimally invasive procedure. Mercy Hospital surgeon, Kenneth Eckhert III, M.D., pioneered the SILS™ procedure in the Buffalo area in January 2009.