Surgery Without Scars

As a 29-year-old newlywed planning her honeymoon, Caitlin Snider had a lot to be excited about. But she got a little more excitement than she bargained for when she found out she needed unexpected surgery.

Caitlin had been having stomach pain and nausea for several months. A few weeks before her honeymoon, she got a diagnosis: gallstones. Her gallbladder would need to be removed, and soon.

Fortunately, Caitlin had a great option available to her. Robotic-assisted  single-site surgery using the da Vinci Surgical System at MedStar Montgomery Medical Center could be performed with less pain, a faster recovery and no visible scar to take on her honeymoon.

Single-Site Technique

In the past, removing the gallbladder meant a full open surgery with a large incision and a long recovery. Today, many patients have “laparoscopic” surgery, during which surgeons can remove the gallbladder by inserting surgical instruments through several smaller incisions. This technique is less invasive, but it still leaves scars. With robotic single-site surgery, the surgeon does the entire procedure through one tiny incision. “I met with Dr. Tweedt as well as a surgeon at another hospital, but only MedStar Montgomery offered the single-site option,” Caitlin says. In fact, Shawn Tweedt, DO, general surgeon with MedStar Montgomery Medical Center is one of only 10 surgeons in the area who can perform this procedure. “It was an easy decision for me.”

Surgery Without Scars

As a 29-year-old newlywed planning her honeymoon, Caitlin Snider had a lot to be excited about. But she got a little more excitement than she bargained for when she found out she needed unexpected surgery. “We perform the surgery through a 1-inch incision hidden at the belly button, so there is virtually no scar afterwards,” says Dr. Tweedt . “It is a tightly-controlled, meticulous and very safe way to perform gallbladder  surgery. And because you don’t have additional incisions, there is also less pain and a quicker recovery.” 

Robotic-Assisted Surgery

“I used to do medical device training, so I was familiar with the da Vinci system, and I know it takes a lot of practice to use those machines,” Caitlin recalls. “Dr. Tweedt has been using it since 2008 and has done hundreds of surgeries with it. That was very reassuring to me.” Caitlin’s surgery went smoothly. She arrived at 10 a.m., was back home that afternoon, and was feeling better the next day. A week later, she was able to return to work. That spring, she enjoyed  her honeymoon without issues—orunsightly scars.

Looking Ahead

Robotic single-site surgery is an excellent option for people who need gallbladder surgery. In the future, Dr. Tweedt believes it will be applied to many more surgical techniques. And he
is confident that, with the support of  MedStar Montgomery Medical Center, he will be able to continue bringing new surgical options to patients. “Surgery by its nature is very invasive,”
says Dr. Tweedt. “If someone has to have a procedure, why not leave as minimal a sign you were there as possible?”

If you would like to schedule an appointment with Dr. Tweedt, call 301-774-8881.

Gallbladder Surgery
Caitlin Snider enjoys spending time in her garden.