First-of-its-kind scarless surgery debuts in Idaho

Credit: Karen Zatkulak / KTVB

Dr. Steven Williams demonstrates the DaVinci robot used to perform scarless surgery at Saint Alphonsus Regional Medical Center in Boise.

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by Karen Zatkulak

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KTVB.COM

Posted on March 29, 2013 at 9:08 AM

Updated Monday, Nov 25 at 10:03 PM

BOISE -- A specialized surgery that leaves patients without visible scars is now offered at a Boise hospital.

It's the first of its kind in Idaho, and gives surgeons the ability to perform procedures via robotics, with 3D and HD imaging.

The equipment used is called DaVinci, and it's a robotic tool that's able to give patients 'single site' surgeries.

That means patients only receive a single incision through the belly button, instead of several in other locations that could lead to visible scars.

Surgeons say the robot is transforming their practice, allowing them to control tiny tools with their fingers and their feet while surveying the surgery site in 3D and HD.

DAVINCI AT SAINT AL'S

"It also gives us a better way to operate on the patient, and so the added degree of safety [that] I can see with the better visualization is quite significant," said Dr. Steven Williams.

Williams is a surgeons at Saint Alphonsus Regional Medical Center in Boise. He says the most amazing part of DaVinci is that all the equipment can fit through just one incision.

The machine utilizes several arms that reach through a band inside the patient's belly button.

Doctors say the resulting single site surgery means no more scars for patients.

"Scars last forever, so some patients are very concerned about how many scars and the size of their scars that they are going to have, so when we offer this it's a great benefit for us," said Dr. Williams.

PRIMARILY FOR GALLBLADDER SURGERY

Cheryl Goff just had the surgery to have her gallbladder removed a few weeks ago.

"I think it's fantastic. The more they can do non-invasively, the better, the quicker people will heal," Goff said.

Goff says the procedure only took 45 minutes, and she recovered in just 3 days.

She says she's impressed that this option is now available in Idaho.

"The less you hurt someone, the less you go in, the easier it is for recovery, better experience," said Goff.

However, DaVinci isn't low cost. The equipment for the procedure costs more than $2 million.

Doctors at Saint Alphonsus performed the first scarless gallbladder surgery in Idaho earlier this year, on January 31st.

However, surgeons say this option isn't for every patient.

Right now, DaVinci is primarily used for gallbladder surgeries, but doctors say it will soon spread to other procedures as well.

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