Surgeons at Rush Hospital are using a single-incision technique to perform gallbladder surgery.
Doctors Brooks Gray and Kevin Ward are the first in the region to use new advances in the da Vinci robotic surgery.
Ward and Gray demonstrated the device Wednesday, using the tiny instruments to unwrap a piece of candy.
Rather than three or four openings usually required for laparoscopic gallbladder surgery, these surgeons only have to make one inch-long incision. Patients are able to recover much more quickly.
"Every patient is not going to be a candidate for this type of operation, because it can be more difficult to some extent," said Ward. "But robotics does give you somewhat of a better view. You have more of a three dimensional view of the operating field and you have a little better control over your instruments."
Ward says in addition to there being less trauma to the body, the incision can be hidden at the belly button so there's no concern about scarring.
"These patients tend to go home the same day if they don't have any problems post-operatively," said Dr. Brooks Gray. "Most of these patients we'll see back in about a week and a lot of patients, depending on their job requirements may be back to work in 10-12 days."
Gray said this procedure shows a lot of promise for use in other kinds of surgery.