GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that about six million men and 14 million women in the U.S. have gallbladder disease. Many of them will require surgery.
Gallbladder surgery is the most common surgery in the U.S., with close to 700,000 performed every year. But the procedure has gotten easier for the patient over the years, and now it's even less invasive, thanks to help from robotic technology.
General surgeon, Dr. Paul Mace performs a lot of gallbladder removal surgeries at Garden Park Medical Center in Gulfport, and now he's able to treat patients and give them an even faster, less painful recovery.
"It's much better for the patient. We're consolidating from four incisions to one incision. There's less wounding and less trauma."
The single incision is made possible, thanks to the Davinci Robotic System.
"With the Davinci we have the ability to do the surgery much more precisely, more safely, and more quickly."
The robot is, of course, operated by the surgeon's careful hands, but it enables the surgeon to have more delicate precision.
"I'm at the console controlling the instruments," Mace said. "The beauty of the DaVinci is it gives me the same range of motion as with my hands, and anything I do, the instruments replicate. It gives me more dexterity, control, and precision."
Dr. Mace hopes to use the single incision procedure for other types of surgeries in the near future.
"Within four to six months, we should be able to use single site for colon and reflux surgery, things we're using multiple for will become single site."
The incision is only about one inch. Dr. Mace says most patients are back to work in five to seven days. He adds that most people are good candidates for the single incision procedure, except for the morbidly obese.