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Gallstones

GallstoneImageGallstones form in the gallbladder, a small organ located under the liver.  The gallbladder aids in the digestive process by storing bile and secreting it into the small intestine when food enters. Bile is a fluid produced by the liver and is made up of several substances, including cholesterol, bilirubin, and bile salts.  Gallstones form in the gallbladder because cholesterol and pigments in bile sometimes form hard particles while they are being stored.  Overtime, the particle becomes larger and often lead to the development of gastro-intestinal symptoms.

The removal of the gallbladder for gallstone disease is one of the most commonly performed procedures in the United States.  The introduction of the laparoscopic cholecystectomy procedure in the 1990’s fundamentally changed the way that surgery could be performed and led the way to the development of the field of Minimally Invasive Surgery.  Since then, Minimally Invasive surgeons have refined their techniques to limit the trauma associated with gallbladder surgery.  Smaller needlescopic instruments have been developed to further limit the size of the incisions.  More recently, attention has been turned to using a single small incision through the belly button in order to avoid multiple incisions.  This approach is called “Single Incision Surgery” and can be performed either using the Da Vinci robotic platform or other newer technologies such as the Transenterix Spider System.

 The “Spider Cholecystectomy” is one of the latest developments in the evolution of Minimally Invasive Surgery to limit the trauma related to abdominal surgery.  This technology enables the surgeon to operate safely through a single small incision in the belly button.  Once the surgical system is introduced, it opens up within the abdomen and enables the use of flexible instruments under direct laparoscopic visualization to complete the planned surgical procedure.  Therefore, by decreasing the number of required incisions, the patient may benefit by experiencing:

  • Less or Minimal Pain
  • Potentially a faster recovery
  • Little or no scarring