Weight Loss Surgery Made Easier: Dr. Luis Reyes Discusses SILS

Weight loss surgery is possible with just one scar. Single incision laparoscopic surgery (SILS) has pros and cons, and Dr. Reyes discusses them here.

Weight loss surgery done with a single incision laparoscopic surgery (SILS), is now possible. This method of surgery requires the surgeon to make only one incision in the abdomen rather than several. Often, the incision is made in the navel, which minimizes scarring. The process makes use of the “SILS port,” an access port into the incision that allows the surgeon to insert several different instruments at once.

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McAllen bariatric surgeon Luis Reyes has used SILS for close to a year. He said that currently, the biggest advantage to SILS is that it leaves a patient with few traces that it ever happened.

“It’s beneficial to the patient right now because it gives them a better cosmetic result,” he said. “Now, we have tried to see if it improves the length of their stay in the hospital, or decreases their pain. It has not been successful in those arenas. But at least the cosmetic result, yes, has been successful.”

SILS is possible in part it allows many small instruments at once, and surgeons are now able to use them in small spaces. Reyes called SILS “currently more viable” than natural orifice transluminal endoscopic surgery (NOTES), a method now in development. This procedure creates surgical access by entering existing orifices, such as the mouth.

The SILS method, however, gives surgeons more access to more organs.

“Right now, SILS is the new step forward,” he said. “It is not something we know is going to probably stay, but is just a step towards a better procedure so that, later, we can probably really perform the ‘scarless’ surgery.”

Still, SILS isn’t for everyone. When it comes to SILS and weight loss surgery, Reyes said, only select patients qualify for it. Doctors are divided on SILS, since it can be very complex.

“(Acceptance) depends on what procedure we’re trying to accomplish,” he said, “where we can do the incision – and the incision may be larger or not as medically accepted as with other small incisions we have conventionally done.”

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