Single-port approach to laparoscopic urologic surgery leaves virtually no scar

November 15, 2007

Surgeons at the Cleveland Clinic’s Glickman Urological & Kidney Institute have taken laparoscopic surgery to the next level by performing a series of surgeries requiring only a single abdominal incision. Using a device newly listed by the FDA, Jihad H. Kaouk, MD, and colleagues say the single-port procedures leave little to no scarring and reduce postoperative complications.

Surgeons at the Cleveland Clinic’s Glickman Urological & Kidney Institute have taken laparoscopic surgery to the next level by performing a series of surgeries requiring only a single abdominal incision. Using a device newly listed by the FDA, Jihad H. Kaouk, MD, and colleagues say the single-port procedures leave little to no scarring and reduce postoperative complications.

“This is the first-ever single-port surgery with three channels that can admit a scope and two instruments,” Dr. Kaouk said. “It minimizes further abdominal trauma and uses an obliterated natural orifice that is scar already; ie, the umbilicus. No muscle splitting is needed since there is no muscle under the umbilicus.”

To date, Dr. Kaouk’s team has used the single-port technique to perform renal cryoablation, sacrocolpopexy, simple nephrectomy, wedge renal biopsy, and pediatric varicocelectomy.

The surgery is performed through a 1.5-cm semicircular incision in the inner curve of the umbilicus, and the rectus fascia is incised. The recently introduced single port with multiple channels (Pnavel Systems, Inc., Cleveland) is inserted and fixed with sutures to the skin. After achieving pneumoperitoneum at 15 mm Hg, a 5-mm scope with a flexible tip  (EndoEYE, Olympus Surgical, Orangeburg, NY) is inserted, and special curved instruments as well as flexible instruments are used. Procedures are performed duplicating traditional laparoscopic steps, Dr. Kaouk said.

“As we improve flexible instruments, the procedure becomes less challenging,” he said. “Ablative procedures are straightforward. Reconstructive procedures such as sacrocolpopexy that require suturing are more challenging and require experience in standard laparoscopy. Obviously, we are selecting easier cases at this time, such as patients with no previous abdominal surgery.”

With 20 cases completed as of this writing, Dr. Kaouk said there had been no complications, no conversion to standard laparoscopy, and no addition of ports.