Report: Surgeons Remove Gallbladder Through Vagina

French surgeons have removed a gallbladder through a woman’s vagina, a procedure used by only a handful of surgeons worldwide, because of the low risk of scarring and postoperative pain.

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Dr. Jacques Marescaux and colleagues at University Louis Pasteur in Strasbourg, France, removed the gallbladder from a 30-year-old woman by making a small incision in the back of the vagina, where the gallbladder was removed, using specially designed instruments. There was no reported bleeding or leakage of liver fluids throughout the three-hour procedure, according to the surgical report. Doctors examined the woman 10 days later, and reported finding no evidence of bleeding, discharge or discomfort.

Surgeons are expecting to see more of these procedures in the future, because of the benefits of no scarring, which is appealing to most patients, usually associated with laparoscopically, the traditional surgical removal of a gallbladder,

The operation, natural orifice transluminal endoscopic surgery, can take three to four times longer than it takes to perform laparoscopically, which may increase the intake of anesthesia.

Past surgeries included a Columbia University operation in March as well as another at the University of California in San Diego. The procedure has also been used to remove the appendix.

However a laparoscopically is generally safer that performing the surgery through the vagina, according to Dr. Christine Ren, an assistant professor of surgery at New York University School of Medicine. According to Ren, serious and possibly fatal infection may occur if there is a tear in the vagina.

“In this paper, the vaginal wall is purposely injured and therefore opens the possibility for more serious complications," said Ren.