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Gallbladder Removal Through Vagina Offers Minimally Invasive Alternative
Date:2/25/2009

ice about having the ground-breaking procedure done at Northwestern Memorial on February 2. Lamb, diagnosed with gallstone disease, had been experiencing severe abdominal pain for weeks that was not responding to dietary changes, and surgery was her only option. "I went home the day of surgery and felt nothing more than a little discomfort the following day," she said. "I returned to work a few days later and I'm feeling great."

"Transvaginal surgery is one of the safest alternatives to traditional laparoscopic surgery because it uses an easily accessible natural orifice that has proven safety for over a century," comments Janet Tomezsko, MD, chief of urogynecology at Northwestern Memorial and a gynecologic surgeon who assisted with the procedure. "Transvaginal procedures demonstrate reduced risk of damage to tissue and surrounding structures."

Approximately 50 NOTES procedures have been done in the U.S. since 2007, but that number is expected to dramatically increase over the next few years, according to Nathaniel Soper, MD, chair of surgery and director of the minimally invasive surgical program at Northwestern Memorial.

"NOTES is well-received by patients and holds the potential to replace traditional laparoscopic surgery for a wide range of procedures in the future," adds Dr. Soper.

Drs. Hungness and Soper, along with John Martin, MD, director of the gastrointestinal lab at Northwestern Memorial, were also the second team of surgeons in the United States to perform NOTES to remove a gallbladder through the mouth of a patient in August 2007. They are the only team in the country performing gallbladder removal through both the mouth and vagina, and will begin utilizing NOTES for a broader range of applications, including appendix removal through the vagina, in the coming months.

For more information visit www.nmh.org.

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SOURCE Northwestern Memorial Hospital
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