Pediatric surgeon pushes envelope (and belly button) to remove diseased organs
First pediatric “splenectomy without scars” leaves no evidence a surgery even occurred
For Release: July 23, 2008PALO ALTO, Calif --
Surgery video here
Click on photo above for high resolution version.
For immediate release
July 23, 2008
(PALO ALTO, CA) – Sanjeev Dutta, MD, has done it again.
He became the first pediatric surgeon in America to excise a child’s liver tumor without an open incision. He became the first pediatric surgeon in America to go through a child’s armpits to remove abnormal tissue from a child’s neck. Now he’s become the first pediatric surgeon in America to remove a child’s spleen without leaving any scars.
“It’s called single-port surgery,” said Dutta, “and it’s the next evolution in minimal access. And it’s definitely stealth, since we’re leaving no evidence a surgery even occurred."
Single-port surgery means that instead of making several coin-sized incisions on visible areas of a child’s abdomen, Dutta is now performing many of his operations by creating a keyhole through one single and very creative location: the belly button. He makes it happen by gently stretching the belly button to make room for 3 tools: a telescopic camera/light, and two operating instruments used to dissect the organ. And it’s not just for diseased spleens. “We’ve been taking out appendixes and gall bladders this way, too,” said Dutta. When finished, he folds the belly button back into its normal shape, leaving no visible scar. It’s a completely different kind of tummy tuck.
Families are grateful. A San Jose, CA, mom who was born with a red blood cell disorder called hereditary spherocytosis had her spleen removed 20 years ago. Her surgery was through open incision. This was the traditional, painful, slow-to-heal, big scar approach. Fast-forward to 2008 and her 8-year-old son, inheriting the condition, needed his own splenectomy. The family figured that a laparoscopic approach would now be the norm, reducing scarring and pain and making recovery quick. But Dutta offered the surprise of maneuvering through the belly button. “Wow, that seems even better,” said the mom, “since there are no scars at all.” One day after the July 15 surgery at Packard Children’s, her son was sitting up in his hospital bed playing games and prepping to go home the next day. There were no scars anywhere.
“This pathway through the tummy is in the early stages of adoption in both kids and adults, but it’s rapidly gaining acceptance,” said Dutta. “It definitely takes some dexterity and it helps that we now have surgery tools that mirror my actual hand movements.” The instruments Dutta uses are made by Novare Surgical Systems in Cupertino, Calif. A Novare representative confirmed that Dutta, who has no affiliation with the company, was believed to be the first and only U.S. pediatric surgeon performing splenectomies this way.
Dutta, who directs Stanford’s surgical skills curriculum, expects to do around 100 surgeries a year through the tummy. But Dutta makes it clear that it’s not about being first, and certainly not about fame. “My priority isn’t accolades,” said Dutta. “My priority is doing what’s best for the child. Visible scars can be psychologically painful for children, so we want to reduce or eliminate them whenever we can. We’re proving this type of surgery works, and we’re thrilled to offer it.”
* See Sanjeev Dutta, MD, here
* See surgery footage on YouTube
* Read about RealHand HD surgical instruments at www.novaresurgical.com
About Lucile Packard Children's Hospital
Ranked as one of the nation's best pediatric hospitals by U.S. News & World Report, Lucile Packard Children's Hospital at Stanford is a 272-bed hospital devoted to the care of children and expectant mothers. Providing pediatric and obstetric medical and surgical services and associated with the Stanford University School of Medicine, Packard Children's offers patients locally, regionally and nationally the full range of health care programs and services, from preventive and routine care to the diagnosis and treatment of serious illness and injury. For more information, visit www.lpch.org.
Media ContactRobert Dicks