Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center Brings New Technology to the Triad

February 4, 2009

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. -- Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center is the first hospital in the Triad offering single-incision laparoscopic surgery (SILS), a technologically-advanced form of laparoscopic surgery in which procedures such as gallbladder removal can be performed through a single small incision.

 “The SILS approach offers patients a better cosmetic result with minimal discomfort after surgery,” said surgeon Adolfo “Fuzz” Fernandez, M.D. Fewer incisions mean a faster recovery, less risk for infection, bleeding or hernia and less pain.

 Laparoscopic surgery – also called minimally-invasive or keyhole surgery – has grown in popularity since the early 1990s. Unlike traditional, open surgery, laparoscopic surgery allows the physician to operate through several small incisions used to insert and maneuver surgical instruments and cameras.

 With SILS, the surgeon uses the same technique through just one incision near the belly button or crease in the skin with little or no visible scarring.

 Fernandez performed a cholecystectomy (gallbladder removal) using SILS on Elaine Repass, a nurse practitioner at Wake Forest Baptist, several weeks ago. “I had minimal pain and was back to work in a week,” she said. “My incision also looks really good. Dr. Fernandez certainly lived up to his reputation.”

 Fernandez is a fellowship-trained laparoscopic surgeon and assistant professor of surgery at Wake Forest Baptist. “The theory behind SILS is that fewer scars are better cosmetically and for pain control,” he said. “While still being evaluated, the pain may be less because you eliminate additional incisions and therefore the recovery may be hastened. We hope to study SILS techniques for other laparoscopic procedures such as appendectomy and adjustable gastric banding,” he added.

 Fernandez is also director of the Bariatric Surgery Program at Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center, which is designated a Blue Cross and Blue Shield Center of Distinction for Bariatric Surgery.

Media Relations

Jonnie Rohrer: news@wakehealth.edu, 336-713-4587

Bonnie Davis: bdavis@wakehealth.edu, 336-713-1597