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Appendix Removed Through the Mouth!

It may sound like a tabloid headline, but it’s true.  For the first time in the United States, surgeons removed an appendix through the mouth.  The procedure, officially called Natural Orifice Translumenal Endoscopic Surgery (NOTES), took place at the University of San Diego Medical Center.
The appendix is a small tube-like structure that extends off the large intestine.  If it becomes inflamed or infected the result is appendicitis.  The only treatment for appendicitis is surgical removal.  Traditional open surgery removes the appendix through a standard incision, leaving a noticeable scar.  Laparoscopic surgery uses several small incisions.  The new revolutionary method is nearly scarless, involving only one small incision in the belly button.
NOTES uses a small camera that is inserted through the belly button and the EndoSurgical Operating System (EOS) that is passed through the mouth.  The EOS makes an incision in the stomach wall to access the appendix and remove it.  In the clinical study, the participant was able to return home after just 20 hours and reported very minimal pain. More research is needed before the procedure is used for the general public.  The University of San Diego Center for the Future of Surgery is also testing other new ways of performing surgery with smaller incisions, less pain, reduced risk of infection, and fast recovery times.

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