Page last updated at 12:32 GMT, Monday, 22 June 2009 13:32 UK

Belly button surgery cuts scars

Laparoscopic surgery
Mr Paraskeva removing a gall bladder using the technique

A London surgeon is pioneering virtually scarless surgery to remove organs through the belly button.

Mr Barry Paraskeva was the first surgeon in the UK to remove an appendix and gall bladder through the navel, using laparoscopic "key-hole" surgery.

Traditionally, these organs have been removed by making three incisions in the torso as well as the belly button - a process which leaves scars.

Mr Paraskeva is based at Imperial College London Healthcare NHS Trust.

This technique further minimises minimally invasive surgery
Mr Barry Paraskeva
Imperial College London Healthcare NHS Trust

The technique, known as single incision laparoscopic surgery (SILS), requires only a 10mm incision into the belly button (navel) to insert a "single access port" through which instruments and a small camera can be fed.

The organ is then pulled out using the instruments and the belly button is stitched up afterwards, leaving only the tiniest trace of a scar.

Speedy results

Using the technique, Mr Paraskeva can now remove an appendix in 20 minutes and gall bladders within an hour.

The surgery leaves virtually no sign of a scar

In both cases, the patient returns home on the same day as surgery.

Additionally, the surgery provides a chance for patients who do not like their out-facing navel to have it tucked inside.

Mr Paraskeva said: "This technique further minimises minimally invasive surgery.

"Having a single access port minimises the discomfort to the patient, reduces the risk of infection and because the incision is through the belly button, the surgery is scarless."

The SILS technique was developed as a result of research undertaken by Mr Paraskeva and colleagues at Imperial.

Mr Geoffrey Glazer, a consultant general surgeon based at London's Wellington Hospital, said: "This is a technological step forward which might appeal to certain groups who do not want two to three small scars on their abdomen.

"It might also help with the healing process."

Mr Glazer said similar techniques were being developed to remove organs from the body's natural orifices, such as the rectum.

However, removing organs through the navel carried less of a potential risk of contamination.

Print Sponsor

Kidney taken through belly button
20 May 09 |  England
Hospital hails 'scarless' success
12 May 09 |  North East/N Isles

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit


Sign in

BBC navigation

Copyright © 2020 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific