Area's First ‘Single-Port' Weight-loss Surgery Performed at Lowell General
Advanced scarless technique also being used for gallbladder removal
Chief of General Surgery Michael Jiser, MD, performed the first single-port laparoscopic gastric banding surgery in July at Lowell General Hospital - the first community hospital in the region to employ this advanced technique in weight-loss surgery.
In the minimally invasive single-port procedure, the surgeon operates through a single incision in the patient's belly button. All the necessary surgical instruments and a special camera are inserted through this incision. After surgery, there is no visible scar since it is almost completely hidden inside the belly button.
Dr. Jiser also is using this advanced technique for gallbladder removal (cholecystectomy), and has performed nearly 30 of these procedures at Lowell General since March of this year, making him the most experienced single-port laparoscopic surgeon in the Merrimac Valley.
"For patients who want to minimize scarring, the single-port approach is a good option," he says, noting that traditional laparoscopic surgery for gastric banding requires at least five incisions, and gallbladder removal requires four, in order to triangulate the necessary instruments and view the structures inside the abdomen.
"The single-port technique is more technically challenging because your instruments are working in line," Dr. Jiser adds. "But with training, experience and appropriate patient selection, outcomes are excellent. And patients appreciate the cosmetic benefit of a virtually scarless procedure."
Fewer incisions also can minimize patient discomfort and shorten healing time.
Most patients who are candidates for traditional laparoscopic gastric band placement or gallbladder removal are appropriate candidates for the single-port approach, according to Dr. Jiser.
"Since the chief benefit of the single-port surgery is cosmetic, however, we select patients carefully and sensibly, on a case-by-case basis, to minimize risk," he notes.
The single-port laparoscopic surgery is performed in the two new state-of-the-art, fully integrated surgical suites at Lowell General. "Integration" refers to functionally connecting all patient information, audio, video, lighting and medical equipment, and it provides the ideal operating-room layout for performing minimally invasive and conventional procedures.
The system gives surgeons the best viewing experience available, with high-quality, magnified video projected on a high-resolution, flat-screen monitor. In addition, the surgeon can control all device functions from a touch screen within reach in the surgical field, rather than waiting for assistance in starting, stopping or changing device settings.
"We're excited to offer our surgical patients the advanced technology of these rooms," Dr. Jiser says. "Now surgeons have complete control over everything in the operating room - all at the touch of a screen."
About Gastric Banding
Gastric banding is a surgical approach to weight loss that reduces the size of the stomach. Using laparoscopic tools which include flexible instruments and a camera, the surgeon places an adjustable silicone band around the upper part of the stomach. After banding, the stomach can hold only about an ounce of food, so the patient feels full faster, eats less and loses weight. The band can be tightened or loosened as needed. Gastric banding is one of two surgical approaches to weight loss available at Lowell General Hospital through its Center for Weight Management and Bariatric Surgery (the other is gastric bypass surgery). Dr. Jiser and his team have performed more than 1,000 successful bariatric surgery procedures.