What is single site laparoscopic surgery?
Single site laparoscopy is one of the latest advances in minimally invasive surgery, reducing the amount of incisions to a single site. In traditional laparoscopic surgery, the surgeon makes three to six small incisions in multiple sites, inserts instrumentation through the incisions and performs the surgery. With single site laparoscopy only one incision is made through the navel. All of the instruments used in the surgery go through this single incision. All laparoscopic surgery offers significant advantages over open surgery, including shorter hospital stays, faster recovery time and reduced postoperative pain and complications.


What are the advantages to single site laparoscopic surgery?
The main advantage is cosmetic. There is less scarring and in most cases the surgeon can make the single incision in a less painful area. For example, in traditional laparoscopic gallbladder surgery, four incisions are made in the abdomen in the navel, under the ribcage and along the right side of the abdomen. With the single site laparoscopic surgery, a single incision is made near the navel and the camera and instruments are passed through the single site. When the operation is complete, the patient has only a single incision and the scar will be hidden by the belly button. Should complications arise, the surgeon can make several additional incisions and complete the surgery as traditional laparoscopy.


Is single site laparoscopic surgery always an option?
The goal of any surgery is safety. Only patients who meet certain criteria will qualify for single site laparoscopic surgery. Patients who have not had prior abdominal surgery and those who fall into a healthy weight range are ideal candidates. While gallbladder removal is the most commonly performed single site laparoscopic procedure, the effectiveness and advantages are still being studied for other types of surgeries. A surgeon experienced in traditional and single site laparoscopic techniques is a key factor in the efficacy and safety of the procedure.