Saint Alphonsus Health System
First in Idaho Scar-less Surgery performed by Saint Alphonsus Surgery team
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Elizabeth C. Duncan Director of Public Relations
(208) 367-8121— Desk (208) 724-8047—Cell

Scarless Surgery- Saint Alphonsus Surgeon Removes Gallbladder through Belly Button Incision with Groundbreaking da Vinci® System
First in Idaho procedure
Boise, Idaho – February 26th – The Saint Alphonsus Medical Group (SAMG) surgical team at Saint Alphonsus Regional Medical Center in Boise performed its first da Vinci® Single-Site™ Cholecystectomy January 31, 2013. The patient’s gallbladder was removed through one tiny incision in the belly button, making the procedure virtually scar-less. This is the first such procedure in Idaho.
Saint Alphonsus General Surgeon Dr. Steven Williams removed the gallbladder using Single-Site™ instruments on a da Vinci® System. The minimally invasive procedure is traditionally called a laparoscopic cholecystectomy (removal of the gallbladder). Using robotic assistance, surgeons removed the gallbladder through an incision of exactly 2.5 cm or one inch.
The Food and Drug Administration cleared the specialized Single-Site instruments for use with the da Vinci System in December 2011. da Vinci is a robotic surgical system widely used in complex minimally invasive surgery.
"I am so excited about this new technology Saint Alphonsus has invested in and the opportunities it will continue to provide to care for patients at an even higher level," said Steven W. Williams, MD., F.A.C.S. "We plan further expansions of single site robotic surgeries and new doors will continue to open. This truly represents a revolution in what we are able to offer."
Dr. Williams and his team are among a small group of surgeons in the country who have received training to perform the surgery. Dr. Williams and his partner General Surgeon Dr. Bren Heaton have been working together on their multi-port robotic gallbladder surgeries, perfecting their technique for the new single site procedure. Dr. Heaton will be scheduling patients for the new single site robotic procedure as well in the next 2-3 weeks.
Potential benefits of Single-Site gallbladder surgery may include virtually scarless results, minimal pain, fast recovery, and high patient satisfaction. The surgery can be performed in about one hour with a typical hospital stay of less than 4 hours.
During the procedure, the surgeon sits comfortably at a console, viewing a 3D, high-definition image of the patient’s anatomy. The surgeon uses controls below the viewer to move the instrument arms and camera. In real-time, the system translates the surgeon's hand, wrist and finger movements into more precise movements of the miniaturized instruments inside the patient.
Unlike traditional robotic surgeries requiring three to five small incisions, this new technology allows for a single incision in the belly button where instruments are placed and the diseased gallbladder is removed.
Most people who require gallbladder removal are candidates for the robotic, single-incision surgery. According to the American College of Surgeons, surgery is the recommended treatment for gallbladder pain from gallstones and non-functioning gallbladders.
More than 1 million people in the U.S. have their gallbladder removed each year. Most are performed with traditional laparoscopy using several incisions.
Saint Alphonsus Regional Medical Center offers various types of robotic-assisted surgeries. In addition to gallbladder removal, Saint Alphonsus surgeons perform other robotic-assisted surgeries and offer a wide range of minimally invasive conventional laparoscopic surgeries.
For information on robotic and other minimally invasive surgeries at Saint Alphonsus call (208) 367-7080 or visit
About Saint Alphonsus Regional Medical Center
Saint Alphonsus is a 387-licensed bed regional medical center serving people throughout the Northwest. As a not-for-profit medical center, Saint Alphonsus reinvests profits back into the community and works to improve the health and well-being of those we serve by emphasizing care that is patient-centered, innovative and community based. Saint Alphonsus focuses on providing services in a spiritual, healing environment, and is renowned for its state-of-the-art digital environment and pioneering technologies; award-winning clinical services; and the region’s only Level II Trauma Center. Saint Alphonsus is part of Saint Alphonsus Health System, a four-hospital, 714-bed integrated healthcare system serving the full range of the health and wellness needs of the people in southwestern Idaho, eastern Oregon and northern Nevada. Saint Alphonsus Health System is a member of Trinity Health.
For information about Saint Alphonsus visit

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