Medical School offers minimal access surgical techniques

4/28/2009 - By: Laura Levin

The newest innovations in minimally invasive surgeries are now available at the University of Nevada School of Medicine’s Department of Surgery in Las Vegas.

Shawn Tsuda, M.D., a board certified surgeon practiced in “scarless” surgeries, also known as single-incision laparoscopic surgery (SILS), recently began performing general surgery operations using these techniques at the University Medical Center of Southern Nevada, the clinical teaching facility for the Department of Surgery, University of Nevada School of Medicine.

SILS involves the use of a camera and one single incision (typically through the navel), as opposed to standard minimally invasive surgery that requires three or four small incisions. This is one step away from natural orifice and transluminal endoscopic surgery which would allow for entire organs to be removed from natural orifices such as the mouth, anus and vagina with little to no scarring.

“Standard minimally invasive surgery refers to operations performed with multiple small scars,” Tsuda said. “Typically this can be accomplished laparoscopically, or with the use of a tiny camera and long, narrow instruments. The advantages of minimally invasive surgery include less post-operative pain and quicker recovery. The cosmetic result is also more favorable.”

The vast majority of weight loss procedures that Tsuda performs, such as the Roux-en-Y gastric bypass and the adjustable gastric band, are performed laparoscopically, along with common general surgical procedures like gallbladder removal and hernia repairs. Although these surgeries using advanced techniques with fewer small incisions are still in development and not widely performed, Tsuda says it is likely that there will be an increase in these surgeries performed with either reduced scars, one single scar in the navel, or no scars at all.

"It is very satisfying to recruit extremely talented surgeons such as Shawn Tsuda,” said William A. Zamboni, M.D., chair of the School of Medicine’s Department of Surgery. “Dr. Tsuda's role as director of the Department of Surgery Surgical Skills Laboratory and Simulation Center is extremely important to the education of our residents and students and takes our department to the next level of excellence. I am also delighted about Dr. James Lau and Dr. Shawn Tsuda working as a team to provide state of the art minimally invasive weight loss surgery for the citizens of Nevada. "

Tsuda graduated medical school from the University of Hawaii, completed his general surgery residency with the University of Nevada School of Medicine and was fellowship-trained at Harvard Medical School in Minimally Invasive Surgery-Bariatric Surgery. His skills perfectly complement his partner, James Lau, M.D., who was fellowship trained at Stanford Medical School.

“Dr. Tsuda is part of a national movement to establish guidelines for minimal access surgery and there are only a handful of doctors who can perform this type of procedure,” said Pat Lau, program administrator for the Division of Bariatric Surgery. “He and his partner were specializing in minimally invasive surgery formally by completing fellowships before it was even required of them.”

Tsuda currently serves as vice chief in the School's Division of Minimally Invasive and Bariatric Surgery in the Department of Surgery. His specialties include minimally invasive surgical techniques, ventral and inguinal hernia repairs, endoscopy, and basic laparoscopy. Tsuda is the Director of Surgical Skills and Simulation Laboratory for the School's surgical residency program. He is certified in the Fundamentals of Laparoscopic Surgery (FLS) and serves as a FLS course instructor. According to Lau, the skills-related education that Tsuda provides will soon become the national standard for surgical training.


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