No-Scar Surgery

Gone are the days of big incisions and big scars from many types of surgery. Doctors at St. Francis Hospital in Hartford are now performing gallbladder removal surgery that's scar-free.

The surgery appealed to Monica Mattingly, of Somers, who was experiencing a gallbladder problem that had grown persistent.

"I had two gallbladder attacks and the second brought me to the ER," Mattingly said.

Her primary care doctor recommended she have her gallbladder removed and sent her to see surgeon Dr. Ibrahim Daoud at St. Francis Hospital.

"Dr. Daoud told me I would be experiencing more attacks if I didn't have the removal of the gallbladder," she said.

Fortunately for Mattingly, Daoud performs a cutting-edge gallbladder removal procedure. He makes tiny incisions in the belly button.

"The advantage of this operation is less pain, faster recovery and no scarring for the patient," Daoud said.

On the day of Mattingly’s surgery, Daoud invited NBC Connecticut into the operating room to see how it's done.

He first filled Monica's stomach with air to open his workspace. He then inserted a camera and tiny tools through the two tiny incisions and began the process of removing her gallbladder. After a little more than an hour, the procedure was complete.

Years ago, before 1990, gallbladder removal required an 8 to 10 inch incision bellow the rib cage.

"This was a very painful operation because the patient could not take a deep breath after surgery," Daoud said.

The operation also required a two-week stay in the hospital. The procedure improved dramatically in the 90s with the introduction of laparoscopic surgery, but that leaves behind four scars and recovery can take a week.

Using this new minimally invasive approach through the belly button, doctors see a dramatic difference.

"The patient goes home within three to five hours and the patient is told 24 hours later they can do anything they want physically. They can eat a regular diet, they can drive, they can lift, they can go to work," Daoud said.

“The way we did hernia repair and gallbladder surgery remained the same for over 100 years. From the 1880s to 1990s it didn't change. The technology was the same for 100, 110 years. In the past 10 to 18 years, the technology has changed drastically and we keep getting better at it.”

Three days after her surgery, Mattingly was home baking cookies.

"I was up and walking that same day," she said.

Her incision spot only requires an adhesive bandage.

"I think it's amazing," she said.

Minimally invasive is the direction many surgical procedures are headed, Daoud said. He can't imagine what the next 10 years will bring in new technology.  

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