Single Keyhole Incision Revolutionizes Gallbladder Surgery
at Brandywine Hospital
(Brandywine, PA, July 2009)—Christopher Olukoga, MD, FACS, a board certified general surgeon at Brandywine Hospital, is among a small group of physicians nationwide and the first in Chester County to remove a patient’s gallbladder for the treatment of gallstones through just one tiny incision hidden in the belly button. This less invasive approach has the potential for faster recovery, less pain, and improved cosmetic outcomes.
“This innovative technique takes traditional laparoscopic gallbladder surgery to the next level and leaves patients with a barely noticeable scar tucked away in the navel,” said Dr. Olukoga, who trained in advanced laparoscopic surgery at The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center where the procedure was pioneered.
Conventional laparoscopic surgery typically requires the insertion of a tiny video camera and several thin instruments through four small incisions. In single incision laparoscopic cholecystectomy, the surgeon operates using the same instruments almost exclusively through a single entry point, typically the patient’s naval.
As Dr. Olukoga explains, operating through the patient’s belly button is made possible because of advances in technology like articulating laparoscopic instruments that allow a full-range of motion, are highly maneuverable, and let surgeons perform complex procedures in delicate areas with greater precision.
“Although it’s technically demanding to perform, the minimally invasive nature of this procedure ultimately means treatment with minimal disruption to the routine activities of life,” he said.
Caitlyn Zelley of Parkesburg, a 21-year-old mother of one, suffered with sudden severe abdominal and back pain. “The pain was getting worse and Tylenol offered no relief,” she said. After five and a half hours, Zelley found herself in the emergency room at Brandywine Hospital and diagnosed with gallstones. She was referred to Dr. Olukoga and opted for the single-incision cholecystectomy to reduce scarring afterward and to have less down time. “I needed to get back to mothering my three-month-old baby and to work as soon as possible,” said Zelley. “I had the surgery, was home the same night, and was back to work two weeks later.”
According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases about half a million Americans have gallbladder surgery each year. The gallbladder is the organ that stores excess bile, a liquid produced in the liver, not immediately needed for digestion. A diseased gallbladder is most often caused by gallstones. Gallstones can cause irritation or they can cause no symptoms at all. When irritation occurs people may experience abdominal pain, back pain, nausea, vomiting, and heartburn.
“With the success of this procedure, Brandywine Hospital is now equipped to offer patients the most advanced form of laparoscopic cholecystectomy,” said Dr. Olukoga. “I’m thrilled to be at a hospital on the forefront of this kind of minimally invasive surgery that continues to transform, resulting in even better experiences for our patients.”
Dr. Olukoga joined Brandywine Hospital in June and is in practice at Surgical Associates of Chester County. For more information or to make an appointment, call 610-384-6550.