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Free panel will explain uses, benefits of minimally invasive surgery

A lecture on minimally invasive surgery will be delivered by Drs. Thomas Boyle, William Statton, Stephen Waterbrook and Nelson Maldonado Sept. 9.
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Janice Varrone, of Yuba City, had her gall bladder removed in June and was back to work in a week, thanks to the minimally invasive surgery procedure used by her surgeon, Dr. Thomas Boyle, of Grass Valley.

Boyle and three other surgeons will present a free panel lecture Wednesday, Sept. 9 to explain the advancements in minimally invasive surgery, how it can be used for a variety of surgical needs, and the benefits it offers to patients.

Minimally invasive surgery, or laparoscopy, began in the 1980s, Boyle explained, and has been improved ever since to the point where 96 percent of gall bladder surgeries are now done this way.



Varonne can testify as to why.

“The whole thing was over in two hours, from check-in to leaving recovery,” she said. “I needed no pain meds, and I have no scarring, just a few thin lines below my navel.”




Those lines, according to Boyle, are small “ports,” or incisions through which the surgeon inserts devices that include a light source and tiny camera, and other tools needed for the procedure. In the case of gall bladder removal, one “port” is large enough extract the organ.

Boyle said the word laparoscopic stems from the Greek root “lapara,” simply defined as the flank or loin, but meaning “the soft parts of the body between the rib margins and hips.” Skopein is the Greek root for scope, meaning to view or examine.

“We actually insert our instruments and then make a space around the organ by injecting carbon dioxide,” he explained. “In effect, we make a little tent around the organ that allows us the room we need to view do our work.” The camera allows the surgeon and others in the operating room to see inside the body and manipulate instruments without actually opening it up.

These smaller incisions are the reason patients typically experience less pain and faster recovery, Boyle said.

The use of laparoscopes originated with gynecologists, Boyle said. Surgeons from other fields quickly realized the benefits and since then the use of laparoscopic procedures has exploded. Although driven by a desire to make surgery safer, less painful, and easier for patients, the technology is also the result of competition among product developers to make continuing improvements, and expand potential uses.

At SNMH, minimally invasive surgery is used for gall bladders, hernias and hiatal hernias, appendix, colon procedures, drainage of fluids, placement of catheters, biopsies, and removal of organs, he noted.

Surgeons taking part in the Sept. 9 panel discussion will be able to address all of these procedures. Along with Boyle the panelists will include Dr. William Statton, who will talk about thoracic (chest) surgeries; Dr. Stephen Waterbrook, who will cover hernia surgeries; and Dr. Nelson Maldonado, who will focus on breast surgeries.

“We view this panel as a chance to inform people in our community about what’s available here at our own hospital,” Boyle said. “We have highly trained, very intelligent physicians on our staff, but if we can’t do a procedure here we will get you to an excellent surgeon at another institution where they have the specialized training or technology needed to help you.”

Anyone now needing or anticipating future surgeries will find the panel of interest, he said, but it is open to the community at large.

All physicians providing care for patients at SNMH are members of the medical staff and are independent practitioners, not employees of the hospital.


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