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Surgeons Remove Gallbladder Through Vagina
Date:9/17/2007

Procedure leaves no scars and reduces pain, but not all doctors endorse it

MONDAY, Sept. 17 (HealthDay News) -- French surgeons report removing a gallbladder through a woman's vagina, joining a handful of surgeons around the world who are trying the novel technique, because it eliminates visible scarring and minimizes postoperative pain.

In March, surgeons at Columbia University in New York City performed a similar operation, and, last week, so did surgeons at the University of California, San Diego. The procedure has also been used for removing the appendix.

"Not many of these procedures have been done yet," said Dr. Kurt E. Roberts, an assistant professor of gastroenterology at Yale University School of Medicine's department of surgery. "Since so few have been done, the potential complications aren't known."

Roberts expects more of these surgeries in the future because of the advantages. "The procedure leaves no scars and also reduces pain," he said.

But not all surgeons find this new procedure appealing.

"As a woman, I find it distasteful and invasive to have the vagina used as a midtown tunnel for the traffic of surgery, simply because there are a few surgeons who are looking to find something new to do," said Dr. Christine Ren, an assistant professor of surgery at New York University School of Medicine.

In the French report, Dr. Jacques Marescaux and colleagues at University Louis Pasteur, Strasbourg, removed the gallbladder from a 30-year-old woman. During the operation, surgeons made a small incision in the back of the vagina. Then, using specially designed instruments inserted through this opening, they removed the gallbladder through the vagina.

There was no bleeding or leakage of liver fluids during the three-hour procedure, according to the report in the September issue of the Archives of Surgery.

"The patient recovered promptly after surgery, wi
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