Gallbladder Disease: A Common American Ailment

March 19, 2014, by William C. Gibson, MD, FACS

An estimated 20 million Americans have gallbladder disease. It’s one of the most common conditions in the United States. The gallbladder is a small sac under the liver that stores bile, a digestive fluid that helps absorb fat and grease from the food we eat. (more…)

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Single-Incision and Robotic Surgery: Medical Breakthrough or Marketing Ploy?

September 18, 2012, by Michael E. Kelly, MD, FACS

A recently published article (Reuters Health, July 18) appears under the headline: “Single-Incision Approach Yields No Benefit in Laparoscopic Gallbladder Surgery.”

Authors of the article, a group of surgeons from the University of Leicester in England, looked at 49 studies involving 2,336 patients who underwent single-incision laparoscopic cholecystectomy (SILC). Based on their study the researchers concluded, “Outcomes from systematic reviews rather than market research must guide decisions about surgical procedures if we are to ensure that surgical progress is not dictated by commercial and industrial interests.”

Upon reviewing the article (, my colleagues and I enjoyed a healthy conversation about the potential merits of newer procedures, such as single-incision laparoscopic surgery and robotic surgery. The following captures some of our thoughts: (more…)

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Laparoscopic Colon Resection Decreases Mortality Rate

September 11, 2012, by Roland B. Weast, MD, FACS

One of the greatest advances in abdominal surgery in the past decade is the advent of laparoscopic colon resections. Minimally invasive resections were introduced in the 1990s for benign disease; in 2003 they were proven to be of equal oncologic benefit for colon cancer when compared to their open surgery counterpart. Studies have confirmed the five-year survival and local recurrence rates for laparoscopic and open or traditional surgical methods are very similar, and today the laparoscopic technique is an established treatment for colorectal cancer. (more…)

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Robotic Surgery Revolutionizes Treatment of Acid Reflux and Hiatal Hernias

July 3, 2012, by David J. Harrell, MD, FACS

It is no overstatement to say that robotic surgery is revolutionary in our field. It has opened up a whole new door for laparoscopic surgery and takes minimally invasive surgery to a new level.

Robotic surgery offers significant advantages, such as better magnification through use of a 3D camera, better instruments, and more degrees of articulation. It allows the surgeon to sew and operate as if using his own hands but with much smaller instruments that give much more control. (more…)

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Outcomes Best with Prompt Laparoscopic Gallbladder Removal

January 6, 2012, by David J. Harrell, MD, FACS

A recent study concluded that, for best results, laparoscopic surgery to remove an inflamed gallbladder should be done within 48 hours of hospital admission. I’ve been performing surgery since 1997 and perform about 200 gallbladder surgeries each year. Based on my experience, I agree that when possible it’s best to conduct gallbladder surgery sooner rather than later. (more…)

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Obesity Linked to Infection after Colon Surgery

August 2, 2011, by K. Robert Williams Jr. MD, FACS, FASMBS

With obesity in the national spotlight as a major health problem, many people are now aware that morbid obesity (more than 100 pounds overweight) can directly lead to a number of serious health conditions such as heart disease, high blood pressure and adult-onset diabetes. Far fewer may realize that severe obesity is also linked to a much higher risk of surgical site infection (SSI).


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Classic Laparoscopy Technique Still Preferred for Gallbladder Surgery

July 28, 2011, by Michael D. Kropilak, MD, FACS

With traditional laparoscopic cholecystectomy, the gallbladder is removed with instruments placed in four small incisions in the abdomen. When laparoscopic surgery is not an option because of complications such as inflammation, scar tissue, injury, or bleeding, an open cholecystectomy is performed and the gallbladder is removed through an approximately six-inch long incision that cuts through fat and muscles in the abdomen. (more…)

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Treating GERD: Medication vs. Surgery

by David J. Harrell, MD, FACS

“I can’t believe I ate the whole thing.” Remember those humorous Alka-Seltzer commercials from the 1970s? For patients suffering from chronic gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), the symptoms are no laughing matter. (more…)

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