Removing gallbladders through belly buttons

Some of us have innies, others have outies but besides collecting lint what's your belly button really good for?

Your navel is actually changing a surgery more than half-a-million people undergo each year.
Jannett Matthews suffered from a gallbladder problem, but loves exercising. She also hates it.

"It's hard but just to know I can do it is exciting,” she said.

She does it all because of how she used to look.

"I was at 280 pounds and decided that wasn't going to work for me,” she said.

With exercise and bariatric surgery, she lost more than 100 pounds.

After the rapid slim down, her gallbladder wasn't working right.

"There were days when the pain was so bad, I just couldn't, didn't have the strength to train,” Matthews shared.

Removal was her best option.

She already had several abdominal scars from her weight loss surgery and wasn't looking forward to more.

Then Dr. Keith Kim of Florida Hospital Celebration Health, told her with a robot, and just one cut he could.

"Do the entire surgery through the belly button,” Dr. Kim said.

He sits feet away from the patient and uses a robot to control the instruments.

Dr. Kim the single incision laporoscopic procedure approved by the FDA less than a year ago offers surgeons better ergonomics, visualization and precision.

"It minimizes the number of incisions but it also tries to hide that incision so there's very little residual scar left over after surgery,” he said.

He said because the incision is only an inch and hidden by the belly button, the biggest benefit is cosmetic.

But doctors also believe the single incision surgery helps reduce recovery time and post-operative pain.

Matthews said after her surgery she was back home within hours and back in the gym in three weeks.

"It's really exciting to see how far I've come."

Pain-free and scar-free, Matthews is once again doing what she loves and hates.

Candidates for traditional laparoscopic surgery usually meet the requirements to have the single port procedure.


GALLBLADDER PROBLEMS: Cholecystitis is inflammation of the gallbladder. Your gallbladder is a small, pear-shaped organ on the right side of your abdomen, just beneath your liver. The gallbladder holds a digestive fluid called bile that's released into your small intestine.

In most cases, cholecystitis is caused by gallstones that block the tube leading out of your gallbladder. This results in a buildup of bile that can cause inflammation. Other causes of cholecystitis include bile duct problems and tumors.

If left untreated, cholecystitis can lead to serious complications, such as a gallbladder that becomes enlarged or that ruptures. Once diagnosed, cholecystitis requires a hospital stay. Treatment for cholecystitis often eventually includes gallbladder removal. (Source:

GALLBLADDER REMOVAL: Your doctor may recommend gallbladder removal surgery if you have gallstones that bother you or your gallbladder is not working normally (biliary dyskinesia).

You may have some or all of these symptoms:

-Infection (cholecystitis)
-Nausea and vomiting
-Pain after eating, usually in the upper right or upper middle area of your belly (epigastric pain)

GETTING OUT BAD GALLBLADDERS THROUGH BELLY BUTTONS: The FDA approved the da Vinci robot's use as tool for single port laparoscopic surgery for gallbladder removal in late 2011, With this innovative approach, patients have little to no scarring because operating through the belly button actually hides the scar. Other benefits include reduced pain and need for pain medications as well as decreased risk of infection. Additionally, patients go home the same day of their surgery and get back to work or activity in only a few days.

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Jennifer Roberts
Florida Hospital Media Relations Manager
O: 407-303-8221 / C: 407-408-5819

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