Unique Surgical Procedure Gaining Worldwide Attention

A first-of-its-kind surgery performed in San Diego is getting international attention.

The surgery to remove a diseased appendix took place at the University of California, San Diego Medical Center.

Doctors said they believe it could revolutionize the field of surgery.

By the looks of him, you wouldn't know that Jeff Scholz is recovering from a surgery.

"I was doing sit-ups and eating pizza three days later," said Scholz.

Scholz underwent what is believed to be the country's first removal of a diseased appendix -- through the mouth.

It started with a trip to the emergency room and ended in a groundbreaking procedure.

Scholz said, "I don't know if you've had your appendix go out, but you'd take it out yourself with a rusty butter knife, so it sounded good to me."

There was no large incision, no scar and virtually no pain.

"The next morning, 12 hours after surgery, he said, 'I'm going home.' I'm like, 'No, you are not going home.' He said, 'Oh yes, I'm going home. I'm feeling great.' So, we fed him and 17 hours after the operation he went home," said Dr. Santiago Horgan of UCSD Medical Center.

Horgan, director of minimally invasive surgery, led the team that performed the procedure.

Using a robotic tube, surgical instruments and a camera were passed through the mouth and into the abdomen.

"So we removed the appendix all the way through the mouth. We only use the incision in the belly button to see how we were coming through the stomach into the abdomen," said Horgan.

By avoiding major incisions through the abdomen, the goal is that patients experience quicker recovery with less pain, all the while reducing the risk of infection.

"We don't know if this is going to be the way we do things in the future. What we know for sure that this is going change what we do today," said Horgan.

That change means Scholz could get back to business.

"Here it is a week later and really you wouldn't even know I had the surgery otherwise," he said.

The procedure was part of a clinical trial.

According to Horgan, more research and more procedures need to be done before there can be a change in the standard of care.

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