Health Alert: Hiding surgery scars - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina

Health Alert: Hiding surgery scars

NATIONAL (NBC) - Even minimally-invasive surgery can leave scars where the tools are inserted. But now there are reports on a new way to do surgery that barely leaves a mark.

Mary Armstrong's diet is just getting back to normal as she recovers from gallbladder surgery, a procedure three of her daughters went through. "So they felt like that their recovery time would probably be a lot, probably was a lot longer than my recovery time."

That's because Mary's surgery was done using only one incision at the belly button, instead of the four most have. It's a technique pioneered by Doctor Paul Curcillo. "Traditionally, we would have to have a hole for each instrument that we used."

A new surgical tool means Mary's procedure scarcely left a trace. Dr. Curcillo says, "The instruments we have now bend at the ends. They're like wrists or fingers inside the abdomen."

Previously, rigid laparoscopic tools had to be placed in specific spots to intersect with the organ being operated on. Curcillo says, "The issue was they're very rigid."

With the new instruments, the tools all enter at the belly button and then curve to reach the target. Dr. Curcillo says, "This will allow us to adapt to the patient's anatomy, and although 95 percent of the patients are the same, the five percent that aren't, we can now do whatever we have to do."

That means patients can enjoy an easier recovery, with barely a mark to show they had surgery.

The single incision technique has also been used to remove ovaries and appendixes, and also for a hysterectomy. Doctor Curcillo has scheduled training classes so other surgeons can learn how to use the articulating instruments and offer the hidden scar surgery.

Posted by Chantelle Janelle

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