St. Mary's Medical Center in Duluth, MN, plans to broadcast a Minimally Invasive Colon Surgery, live on http://www.or-live.com. The webcast is slated for Wednesday, Jan. 24, 2007, at 6:30 PM CST. The public will be able to view a laparoscopic hemicolectomy, the removal of part of the colon through a small incision.
Duluth Clinic colorectal surgeon Melissa Najarian, MD, will perform the procedure. Duluth Clinic surgeon Thomas Wiig, MD, will help explain the surgery and answer questions e-mailed by viewers.
During a typical surgery, Dr. Najarian removes a section of colon about eight inches long. In many cases, Dr. Najarian operates on patients who have colon cancer or colon polyps. A patient suffering from Crohn's disease or diverticulitis could also be a candidate for the procedure.
Because this surgery is done laparoscopically, Dr. Najarian makes an incision about two inches in length, along with three or four incisions that are less than half an inch. She inserts a camera and her tools through these small cuts to perform the surgery. An open procedure of this type would likely require an eight-inch incision.
When the minimally invasive procedure is appropriate for a patient's individual situation, this technique can lead to quicker healing. "They have less pain and that speeds up the recovery as well," Dr. Najarian notes.
As a specialist in colorectal surgery, Dr. Najarian has honed her skills in laparoscopic procedures. "It takes more training," she says. The operating room staff must also have extra training and be comfortable using the high-tech equipment that makes this type of procedure possible. Laparoscopic techniques are used in many surgeries at St. Mary's, including the removal of the appendix, gall bladder and spleen, along with weight loss surgery and hernia repairs.
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