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New York Doctors Remove Gallbladder Through Vagina

Doctors in New York have achieved a major breakthrough in abdominal surgery by removing a woman’s gallbladder through her vagina. //

This technique, they say, will cause less pain and scarring than the usual operation, and allow a quicker recovery. The technique can eliminate the need to cut through abdominal muscles, a major source of pain after surgery.

The New York patient, 66, had her gallbladder removed on March 21 and is recovering well, said her surgeon, Dr. Marc Bessler, the director of laparoscopic surgery at NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia University Medical Center.

The operation was experimental, part of a study that is being done to find out whether people will fare better if abdominal surgery is performed through natural openings in the body rather than cuts in the belly.

The surgery still requires cutting, through the wall of the vagina, stomach or colon, but doctors say it should hurt less because those tissues are far less sensitive than the abdominal muscles.

Interest in this idea heightened after doctors from India made a video in 2004 showing an appendix being taken out through a patient’s mouth. The patient had abdominal scars that would have made conventional surgery difficult.

Nageshwar Reddy and G.V. Rao of the Asian Institute of Gastroenterology, Hyderabad, had performed the first human cases of removal of the appendix through the stomach.

Then the “no-scar surgery” caught on. Laparoscopic surgeons from the Society of American Gastrointestinal and Endoscopic Surgeons (SAGES) and a group of expert interventional endoscopists representing the American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy (ASGE) came together to form The Natural Orifice Surgery Consortium for Assessment and Research.

The Natural Orifice Translumenal Endoscopic Surgery (NOTES), their objective, is said to represent the next major advancement in minimally invasive therapy.

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