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Yale Surgeons Remove Gallbladder Vaginally; Doctors And Patients Available To Speak On Minimally-Invasive Surgical Trend

In the first surgery of its kind in Connecticut, and among the first in New England, surgeons at Yale School of Medicine and Yale-New Haven Hospital successfully removed the gallbladder of a 21-year-old woman through her vagina. This operation joins the first wave of transvaginal organ removals to be performed in the U.S. and around the world, forerunners in a small but steadily growing trend toward minimally-invasive, no-scar surgery.
The Yale surgical team made two incisions: one in the top of the vagina, and a second very small one hidden in the woman's navel. The surgery took less than an hour-and-a-half and the patient went home three hours later. She was able to recover quickly, with little to no post-operative pain and no visible scars. Most important, she was able to return to full activities very quickly and had far less risk for a wound infection than might have resulted from traditional laparoscopic gallbladder removal, which requires four incisions through the abdominal muscles.
Lead surgeon Kurt E. Roberts, M.D., of Yale Medical Group, believes removal of the gallbladder transvaginally is a major improvement over traditional and even laparoscopic methods. "Surgical tools and endoscopic cameras can be passed through this orifice to perform the surgery, completely avoiding any external incisions," he explains.
Transvaginal gallbladder removal is part of a burgeoning surgical field called "Natural Orifice Translumenal Endoscopic Surgery," or "NOTES." This technique has been successfully used to remove the appendix, and more recently, kidneys and gallbladders. These organs can be removed through the vagina, rectum, or mouth.
Dr. Roberts has performed several transvaginal appendix removals, and expects that use of NOTES will only expand in the future. He says, "This is the way surgery should be for patients - no pain, no scars and immediate recovery."
Dr. Roberts is available to speak to the media, both about vaginal gallbladder and appendix removals and NOTES procedures in general. Patients on whom he performed transvaginal appendectomies are also willing to speak to reporters.
Yale University


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