Surgeons at UT Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas have pioneered a new method of kidney removal, using a single belly button incision.

The laproscopic surgery involves removing the kidney entirely through a patient's navel, using a “single keyhole access” that leaves a barely noticeable scar.

“Laparoscopic surgery already gives patients smaller incisions, less pain and a faster recovery,” said Dr. Jeffrey Cadeddu, who leads the Clinical Center for Minimally Invasive Treatment of Urologic Cancer, in a statement. “This transumbilical technique is a further extension of laparoscopic surgery, which essentially removes scarring from the patient’s skin.”

Medical center spokeswoman Erin Prather Stafford said surgeons at UT have used the procedure three times. Two of the patients had kidneys removed due to infections, and the third had kidney cancer, she told Foxnews.com in an e-mail.

During the procedure, surgeons put three holes next to each other – one at 12 o’clock, one at three o’clock, and one at six o’clock. Cadeddu then connects the three holes together to make the hole large enough to take the kidney out.

Human kidneys are about the size of a small adult fist and are located on each side of the spine just above the waist.

Historically, kidneys are removed through an eight- to 10-inch incision from the middle of the abdomen to the back, the center added.