Single Site Cholecystectomies

The gallbladder, an organ situated just below the liver, stores bile, a digestive fluid. Blockage or inflammation of the gallbladder may sometimes occur as a result of stones or other disease, causing pain. The condition is usually treated by cholecystectomy, the surgical removal of the gallbladder. This procedure is traditionally performed by making a large abdominal incision. Advances in surgical techniques have resulted in a minimally invasive laparoscopic approach, which involves 3 to 4 small incisions, through which a laparoscope (lighted tube and camera) and miniature instruments are introduced. Single-site cholecystectomy is a refinement of the laparoscopic approach involving just a single incision.

The procedure is performed under general anesthesia. You will lie on your back with your head elevated and your right side up. An incision is made through your navel and carbon dioxide gas is introduced into the abdominal cavity for better visualization. Three ports are then passed through the single incision through which viewing and surgical instruments are inserted. The gallbladder is retracted, and its duct and artery clipped and divided. The organ is separated from its attachments and retrieved in a small pouch introduced through one of the ports.

Recovery from single site cholecystectomy is faster and associated with fewer complications, which may include bleeding, hernia formation, wound infection and injury to the bile duct or bowel.