Columbia St. Mary's Physician Performs First Single Incision Laparoscopic Surgery in Wisconsin

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Milwaukee, WI, November 20, 2008 –Columbia St. Mary's Laparoscopic Surgeon Joseph Regan, M.D. performed today what is believed to be the first Single Incision Laparoscopic Surgical (SILS) procedure in Wisconsin.*

Using this new technique, Dr. Regan successfully removed the gall bladder of a 44-year-old Germantown man via a single incision about one half-inch wide through the patient’s belly button.  (The gall bladder is approximately the size of a small pear.)

The surgery, which took approximately 90 minutes, was performed at Columbia St. Mary's Hospital Columbia. The patient is to be discharged from the hospital within 24 hours after surgery and is expected to return to normal activities almost immediately.

"The procedure went smoothly and was performed safely, which is critical to the development of any new technique or technology," Dr. Regan said.

SILS is a laparoscopic surgery performed through a small single incision instead of typical laparoscopic surgery with four to five small incisions.  Through the small single incision, the surgeon places an access port in the abdomen, which holds a special camera and surgical instruments during surgery.

"This new single incision surgery is less invasive and therefore offers potential benefits to the patient.  Less pain, more rapid recovery and less scarring are all advantages of SILS," Dr. Regan said. "This is the same surgery we have been doing, but it involves a different access point, which means we can use existing technology and equipment.  Costs to the hospital, patients' health care plans and employers are also reduced when the hospital stay is shorter and recovery is quicker," he said. 

Dr. Regan noted, however, that not all patients are candidates for SILS. "Obesity, severe adhesions or scar tissue from previous surgeries are a few factors that would be prohibitive," he said.

Dr. Regan is the Medical Director of the Bariatric Center at Columbia St. Mary’s Health System. He is among the first surgeons in the U.S. to receive special training to perform the new SILS surgical technique.  Dr. Regan is among 11 renowned surgeons with Columbia St. Mary's Milwaukee Institute of Minimally Invasive Surgery (MIMIS).  The Institute was the first multi-specialty minimally invasive surgery center in the Midwest. 

"MIMIS has always been at the forefront of minimally invasive procedures. SILS is still in its infancy, but it’s a rapidly evolving area. As we move forward, we expect to use this technique in other areas including urology and gynecology," Dr. Regan said.  In select areas of the country some surgeons have begun using the new surgical technique for the kidney, colon and bariatric Lap-band procedures.

*A thorough search revealed no evidence of any single incision laparoscopic surgical procedures performed at any other Wisconsin hospitals.

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