On March 26, 2008, surgeons at UC San Diego Medical Center removed an inflamed appendix through a patient's vagina, a first in the United States. Following the 50-minute procedure, the patient, Diana Schlamadinger, reported only minor discomfort. Removal of diseased organs through the body's natural openings offers patients a rapid recovery, minimal pain, and no scarring. Key to these surgical clinical trials is collaboration with medical device companies to develop new minimally-invasive tools.
The procedure, called Natural Orifice Translumenal Endoscopic Surgery (NOTES), involves passing surgical instruments through a natural orifice, such as the mouth or vagina, to remove a diseased organ such as an appendix or gallbladder. Only one incision is made through the belly button for the purpose of inserting a two millimeter camera into the abdominal cavity so the surgeons can safely access the surgical site.
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