Single incision laparoscopy revisited

A new abstract published [ and re-posted below] in advance of the article – confirms what Bogotá surgeons already know –

Uniport or single incision laparoscopy is a safe, effective surgical treatment which reduces post-operative pain, length of stay and recovery time for patients while providing better cosmetic outcomes.

Surprising to me, it seems there is still hesitation among surgeons in the United States to adopt this technique for routine procedures such as appendectomy, or cholecystectomy.  In fact, during a recent multi-day tour of Duke University – I was unable to find out information/ or confirm the use of this technique by a single surgeon in the facility.  [My methods were by no means definitive or scientific – I questioned surgeons and anesthesiologists but it’s possible that surgeons using this technique were not identified.  However, the majority of people I spoke to didn’t know what SIL was, and required a description of the procedure, which adds to my suspicions that this procedure is not being performed at Duke.   I will be back at Duke later this month, and will continue to investigate.]  if true, this is a significant finding, and failure in American surgery – Duke is one of the leaders in surgical innovation and emerging therapies.

Now the abtract below talks about increased surgical time – which is true, initially as surgeons learn the technique.  However, as surgeons become more experienced in this procedure, this is no longer the case. In the cases I observed in Colombia, there was no increase in surgery time – but the surgeon has been performing this technique for several years.

Correction:  Despite what I was initially informed – Duke general surgeons do use SILS, and use the single incision laparoscopy approach as part of their living donor kidney transplantation.    I apologize for the error. 

Abstract re-posted below:

 Single incision laparoscopic cholecystectomy (SILC) versus laparoscopic cholecystectomy (LC) – a matched pair analysis


Department of Surgery, Krankenhaus der Elisabethinen, Fadingerstrasse 1, 4020, Linz, Austria,



The aim of our study was to compare single incision laparoscopic cholecystectomy (SILC) and laparoscopic cholecystectomy (LC) with respect to complications, operating time, postoperative pain, use of analgesics, length of stay, return to work, rate of incisional hernia, and cosmetic outcome.


Sixty-seven patients underwent SILC. Of a cohort of 163 LC operated in the same time period, 67 patients were chosen for a matched pair analysis. Pairs were matched for age, gender, ASA, BMI, acuity, and previous abdominal surgery. In the SILC group, patient characteristics (gender, age, BMI, comorbidities, ASA, previous abdominal surgery, symptomatic cholecystolithiasis, cholecystitis) and perioperative data (surgeon, operation time, conversion rate and cause, intraoperative complications, postoperative complications, reoperation rate, VAS at 24 h, VAS at 48 h, use of analgesics according to WHO class, and length of stay) were collected prospectively.


Follow-up in the SILC and LC group was completed with a minimum of 17 and a maximum of 26 months; data acquired were recovery time the patients needed until they were able to get back into the working process, long-term incidence of postoperative hernias, and satisfaction with cosmetic outcome. Operating time was longer for SILC (median 75 min, range 39-168 vs. 63, range 23-164, p = 0.039). There were no significant differences for SILC and LC with regard to postoperative pain measured by VAS at 24 h (median 3, range 0-8 vs. 2, range 0-8, p = 0.224), at 48 h (median 2, range 0-6 vs. 2, range 0-8, p = 0.571), use of analgesics, and length of stay (median 2 days, range 1-9 vs. 2, range 1-11, p = 0.098). There was no major complication in either group. The completion rate of SILC was 85.1% (57 of 67). Although there was a trend towards an earlier return to the working process in patients of the SILC group, this was not significant. The rate of incisional hernias was 1.9% (1/53) in the SILC and 2.1% (1/48) in the LC group indicating no significant difference. Self-assessment of satisfaction with the cosmetic outcome was not judged different by patients in both groups.


SILC is associated with longer operating time, but equals LC with respect to safety, postoperative pain, use of analgesics, length of stay, return to work, rate of incisional hernia, and cosmetic outcome.

Langenbecks Arch Surg. 2011 Jun 22. [Epub ahead of print]

One thought on “Single incision laparoscopy revisited

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