The first successful Natural Orifice Translumenal Endoscopic Surgery (NOTES), which involves “passing surgical instruments through a natural orifice, such as the mouth or vagina, to remove a diseased organ,” has been performed in the United States on an appendix.
Surgeons at the University of California San Diego Medical Center removed a woman’s inflamed appendix through her vagina on March 26th. The procedure took only 50 minutes and the patient reported only minor discomfort. The only portion of the surgery that was invasive was a small incision through the belly button that allows for the insertion of a two-millimeter camera.
The benefit of NOTES in removing or repairing diseased organs is that of “rapid recovery, minimal pain, and no scarring.” In addition, there is a decreased risk of post-operative hernias. This procedure could be used for removing other internal organs, such as the gallbladder or spleen.
NOTES is thought to be a surgical procedure that will gain popularity in the future. With it’s low risk, high efficiency, and benefits to a patients comfort and future quality of life, there is little reason this expectation will not be fulfilled. The main obstacle is getting “medical device companies to develop new minimally-invasive tools,” which would allow for further NOTES procedures and studies to be conducted.
Source: Defeat Diabetes Foundation: Carr, Jackie. University of California San Diego press release. March 2008.