A single-site gallbladder removal was performed with the da Vinci robot at London Health Sciences Centre for the first time in Canada last month.

Dr. Christopher Schlachta, medical director of Canadian Surgical Technologies and Advanced Robotics, performed the procedure on Sept. 13.

“Traditional laparoscopic surgery is performed through four small incisions,” says Schlachta. “With a single-site robotic surgery, the gallbladder is removed through a single small incision, hidden in the belly button, and patients experience virtually scarless results.”

Patient Melanie Sabino, 33, a nurse from St. Marys, Ontario, calls it a lucky Friday the 13th and says she was excited to be offered this surgical option.

“I was back to normal in just two days,” says Sabino. “Without a scar my co-workers don’t believe I’ve had surgery.”

Gallbladder surgery is a very common procedure that is already being done as day surgery, but the robotic surgery takes minimally invasive to a different level.

Schlachta says this is a whole new world that they plan to apply to even more complex surgeries including colorectal cancer surgery, anti-reflux surgery, kidney surgery, as well as pancreatic and liver surgeries.