Southwest General Hospital

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New Robotic-Assisted Gallbladder Surgery at Southwest General—Virtually Scar Free

Caroline Fienga
Media Specialist
440-612-1812 (pager)

New Robotic-Assisted Gallbladder Surgery at Southwest General—Virtually Scar Free

Middleburg Heights, OH (Aug. 2, 2012) – A highly skilled surgical team at Southwest General has performed a gallbladder removal procedure using only one tiny incision in the patient’s belly button, making the procedure virtually scarless.

The procedure was performed using Single-Site instruments on the hospital’s new da Vinci Si® System—the most advanced technology available for robotic surgery.

A surgical team, led by Vladimir Dubchuk, MD, a board-certified general surgeon on the Medical Staff at Southwest General, performed the surgery through an incision of approximately one inch through the belly button—unlike traditional robotic surgeries, which frequently require three-to-five small incisions. Southwest General is the only community-based hospital in Northeast Ohio to begin using this advanced technology for single-site procedures.

“Neither robotic surgery nor single-incision surgery is new, but combining the two to perform a major surgery requires additional training and special equipment,” says Dr. Dubchuk “To be among the top hospitals in the country in using this equipment demonstrates Southwest General’s leadership in providing patients with the most up-to-date minimally invasive surgical options.”

Benefits of using the Single-Site system for a variety of procedures can include virtually scarless results, minimal pain, low blood loss, faster recovery, a shorter hospital stay and high patient satisfaction.

Southwest General has been a pioneer in robotic-assisted surgery since purchasing its first da Vinci robot in 2006. Since that time, a dedicated and skilled team of surgeons has performed hundreds of surgeries at Southwest General each year with the da Vinci technology.

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 view 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.

“Single-Site instruments used with the da Vinci platform are the next step in the evolution of surgical technologies,” explains John Alton, MD, a board-certified obstetrician/gynecologist on the Medical Staff at Southwest General and a member of the hospital’s robotic surgery committee. “We are truly excited to be a leader today in the surgical treatment of tomorrow.”

Interview and photo opportunities are available. Call Caroline Fienga at 440-816-6723.

About Southwest General
Southwest General is a private, not-for-profit, 358-bed acute care facility located in Middleburg Heights, Ohio. Founded in 1920, Southwest General is home to nationally recognized physicians with full access to state-of-the-art technology. Southwest General has a deep commitment to providing personalized care and building a healthy future for the patients, families and communities it serves. For additional information, visit or