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Laparoscopic Cholecystectomy using SILS (Single-Incision Transumbilical Laparoscopic Surgery)

Single-incision transumbilical laparoscopic surgery (also known as SILS) is an innovative, minimally invasive surgical technique used to remove the gall bladder through a single transumbilical incision, using the belly button scar, which makes it possible to obtain an invisible scar. 

The gallbladder is on the underside of the liver and is used to store the bile made by the liver. During digestion it goes to the intestine. 

Gallstones are solid stones that form in the gallbladder and block the flow of bile. They can cause inflammation and acute abdominal pain, vomiting, indigestion and, occasionally, fever.  If the stone obstructs the bile duct it can cause jaundice and the best option is to remove the gall bladder.

Benefits of the operation

Given the benefits of laparoscopic cholecystectomy over open surgery, other procedures have been evaluated and the laparoscopic route is becoming the method of choice. Laparoscopic SILS surgery is the latest new technique to appear in this constant technological progress. 

The benefits go beyond the cosmetic (using the belly button scar itself) and include even less post operative pain than traditional laparoscopy, allowing patients to go back to an active life even more quickly.

Medical-technical description

The use of SILS laparocopic surgery consists of removal of the entire gallbladder using the belly button as the only orifice through which the laparoscopic instruments enter the body.  This means that instead of the 3 or 4 incisions of between 5 and 10 mm that are normally used for these operations, there is just one, 2 cm incision in the belly button.

About the operation

The surgery is performed under general anaesthesia and consists of inserting a laparoscope connected to a special camera through a small tube or cannula in the belly button, which gives the surgeon a magnified view of the patient's internal organs on a television screen. The gallbladder to be separated from its adjoining structures removed through the incision, which is then closed with one or two stitches or with surgical tape.

The surgical procedure takes approximately 45 minutes and patients normally stay in the clinic for one day.

Before the operation

  • You will have a blood test, medical examination, chest X-ray and electrocardiogram.
  • You must not eat or drink for 12 before your operation.
  • You must stop taking drugs such as aspirin, anticoagulants, anti-inflammatories and vitamin E, one week before the surgery.
  • You must remove all metal objects during the operation (rings, bracelets, earrings, body piercings, etc).

Post-operative care

  • You will need to follow a special diet for a few weeks.
  • The level of activity depends on how the patient feels.  Walking is recommended.
  • You will probably be able to resume your normal activity after 7-10 days (climb stairs, lift light objects and work).

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