The procedure was performed on a 42-year-old Columbus woman and is part of a pilot study leading up to the first human multi-center trial in the world comparing laparoscopic and transvaginal natural orifice surgery.
In 2006, Ohio State surgeons were among the first in the country to use the incisionless technology for diagnosing abdominal malignancies and cancer staging through the mouth. The technique allowed a flexible endoscopy tube encasing a fiber-optic camera and remote-controlled surgical cutting tool to pierce the stomach wall for performing delicate surgical procedures. This particular procedure has been performed in more than 120 patients at Ohio State.
Dr. Vimal Narula, the surgeon who performed the first transvaginal gallbladder removal at Ohio State, says the successful procedure shows the potential of natural orifice translumenal endoscopic surgery (NOTES).
“OSU Medical Center is one of the few programs in the country with a leading role in a novel study to examine the use of natural orifice surgery as another emerging technology within the field of minimally invasive therapy,” said Narula. The trial is sponsored by the Natural Orifice Surgery Consortium for Assessment and Research (NOSCAR).
Advantages to natural orifice surgery include a decreased risk of infection and less pain, according to Narula.
“Because the incision used to extract the gallbladder is located inside the body where there are no nerve endings, there is no sensation of pain,” said Narula. “The only discomfort may come from a small incision at the naval where a small endoscopic camera is inserted to provide visibility to the surgeon while he uses the laparoscopic instruments.”
Other advantages to the surgery are that it reduces the risk of a hernia later and patients have no visible scarring. Most patients can go home the same day or the following morning.
Patients selected for the pilot procedure are carefully chosen and must be otherwise healthy and height-weight proportionate.