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Release Date: 6/25/2013

Surgeon performs robotic, single-incision gallbladder removal

Bradley Ross, D.O., of St. Louis Surgical Services

Bradley Ross, D.O., of St. Louis Surgical Services

St. Anthony’s Medical Center is among a select few hospitals in the St. Louis area to offer a new method of gallbladder surgery: robotic-assisted, single-incision cholecystectomy through the belly button.

St. Anthony’s surgeon Bradley Ross, D.O., of St. Louis Surgical Services, performs the robotic cholecystectomy procedure. He is the first in the South County area, and one of only a few doctors in the St. Louis area, to do so.

The gallbladder is a pear-shaped organ under the liver that stores and concentrates bile to help digest fat. About 10 to 15 percent of Americans suffer from gallbladder disease, caused by inflammation, infection or blockage (such as gallstones) of the organ. When routine medical care fails to ease the symptoms of gallbladder disease, the patient’s doctor may opt to remove the organ. In the U.S. each year, one million residents undergo gallbladder removal surgery.

Gallbladder removal has been performed in recent years via a procedure known as manual laparoscopy. Dr. Ross has performed numerous cholecystectomies using manual laparoscopy, which requires four incisions.

“In my opinion robotic surgery will become the gold standard,” Dr. Ross said. “Robotic cholecystectomy requires only one incision, making it virtually scarless. Also, perhaps more importantly, the da Vinci robot allows the surgeon to see the incision site in three dimensions. With conventional laparoscopy, you can’t gauge depth and visualization is poor.

“Robotically, I can see better,” Dr. Ross added. “Seeing is everything in surgery.”

In addition to minimal scarring, the potential benefits of single-incision surgery include minimal pain, low blood loss, fast recovery, short hospital stay and higher patient satisfaction.

With its magnified view in three dimensions, the da Vinci robotic system offers the skilled surgeon greater precision of movement. Because the doctor controls the da Vinci robotic system, his or her hand movements translate into smaller, more precise movements of the tiny instruments inside the patient’s body.

To become credentialed for general surgery using the robotic device, Dr. Ross underwent hundreds of hours of training, supervised by St. Anthony’s medical leadership. While in training he completed 17 surgeries, then went on to perform five surgeries that were proctored, or observed, and approved by an experienced surgeon. Dr. Ross has performed several single-incision surgeries.

Dr. Ross and other doctors at St. Anthony’s offer da Vinci robotic-assisted surgery for various gynecological procedures, including hysterectomy and sacrocolpopexy; and urologic procedures such as prostate and kidney surgery (prostatectomy, nephrectomy and partial nephrectomy). These procedures, in many instances, are used to treat or remove cancer.

To make an appointment with Dr. Ross, call 314-ANTHONY (268-4669).

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