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Wilkes-Barre General Hospital surgeon performs region’s first robotic-assisted gallbladder removal with only one incision
Wilkes-Barre General Hospital surgeon performs region’s first robotic-assisted gallbladder removal with only one incision
Posted: April 4, 2012
Clark Gerhart, M.D.

Dr. Gerhart at the da Vinci operator's console.






A surgical team at Wilkes-Barre General Hospital performed their first da Vinci Single-Site Cholecystectomy on Wednesday, April 4. The patient’s gallbladder was removed through one tiny incision in the belly button, making the procedure virtually scarless.

Led by general surgeon Clark Gerhart, M.D., the team removed the gallbladder using Single-Site instruments on a da Vinci System. The minimally invasive procedure is traditionally called a laparoscopic cholecystectomy (removal of the gallbladder). Using robotic assistance, surgeons removed the gallbladder through an incision of approximately one inch.

The Food and Drug Administration cleared the specialized Single-Site instruments for use with the da Vinci System in December 2011. Wilkes-Barre General Hospital is the only Northeastern Pennsylvania hospital to offer Single-Site robotic technology.

Wilkes-Barre General Hospital has performed various types of robotic-assisted surgeries since it purchased its first da Vinci robot in 2010. The hospital purchased a second robot—a new da Vinci Si surgical system—as the platform for the new Single-Site procedures. Dr. Gerhart is one of a small group of surgeons in the country who has received training to perform the surgery.

“Single-site robotic surgeries are the next step in the evolution of surgical technologies,” says Wilkes-Barre General Hospital CEO Cornelio Catena. “To be one of the first hospitals in Pennsylvania to offer this technically advanced surgery demonstrates Wilkes-Barre General Hospital’s leadership in providing our patients with the most up-to-date minimally invasive surgical options."

Potential benefits of Single-Site gallbladder surgery may include virtually scarless results, minimal pain, low blood loss, fast recovery, a short hospital stay and high patient satisfaction. The surgery can be performed in about one hour with a typical hospital stay of less than 24 hours.

During the procedure, the surgeon sits comfortably at a console, viewing a 3-D, high-definition image of the patient’s anatomy. The surgeon uses controls below the viewer to move the instrument arms and camera. In real-time, the system translates the surgeon's hand, wrist and finger movements into more precise movements of the miniaturized instruments inside the patient. Unlike traditional robotic surgeries requiring three to five small incisions, this new technology allows for a single incision in the belly button where instruments are placed and the diseased gallbladder is removed. Most people who require gallbladder removal are candidates for the robotic, single-incision surgery.

According to the American College of Surgeons, surgery is the recommended treatment for gallbladder pain from gallstones and non-functioning gallbladders. More than 1 million people in the U.S. have their gallbladder removed each year. Most are performed with traditional laparoscopy using several incisions.

In addition to gallbladder removal, Wilkes-Barre General Hospital surgeons perform robotic-assisted surgery in urology, gynecology and gynecologic onco logy. Wilkes-Barre General Hospital also offers a wide range of minimally invasive conventional laparoscopic surgeries.

For information on robotic surgeries at Wilkes-Barre General Hospital, please click here.

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575 North River Street
Wilkes-Barre, PA 18764
(570) 829-8111
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