Augusta, GA — Doctors Hospital is offering a new technique for a common surgery, and for patients it means the possibility of less scaring.

Approximately 500,000 procedures are performed each year in the United States to remove the gallbladder, a small pear-shaped organ located in the upper abdomen beneath the bladder. More than 80 percent of all gallbladder surgeries in the United States are done laparoscopically with multiple access points.

At Doctors Hospital, vascular surgeon Dr. Christopher Gates is using a single-incision technique, known as SILS. With the next generation SILS procedure surgeons can make a single 20mm incision through the belly button minimizing the pain that may be associated with the additional sites of entry.

Within hours after the surgery, the patient can be home and may not even see the evidence of the surgery. One of the major advantages of the SILS TM procedure is that the surgery is done through the patient’s belly button, ultimately resulting in the potential for no visible scar. By comparison, traditional gallbladder surgeries involve four ½ inch or smaller incisions that may leave scars.

While the gallbladder’s main function – to store bile produced by the liver and release it for digestion – is important to the body, it is not essential. Gallbladder surgeries are usually performed for the treatment of gallstones, small solid formations of cholesterol and bile salts within the gallbladder – or inflammation of the gallbladder.