Single-port surgery is a procedure performed through one cut (incision) and with an innovative single-port robot. Surgeons use this minimally invasive approach in many procedures involving different organ systems. People who have single-port surgery report less pain and faster recovery than with traditional minimally invasive surgeries.
Surgeons perform single-port surgery through a single port — or incision — in your belly button (navel) or abdomen. The location of the incision may vary depending on the surgical procedure. Single-port surgery is a form of minimally invasive surgery. You might hear the term single-port SP surgery.
First used clinically in September 2018, single-port robotic surgery is now widely used in many medical centers worldwide for various procedures. Surgeons in a variety of specialties conduct single-port surgery, including urology, and ear, nose and throat. This innovation continues to provide excellent results, with more rapid recovery and increased patient satisfaction.
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There are different approaches to surgery. Your surgeon selects the one that’s best for you based on their experience, your reason for needing surgery and your overall health.
In open surgery, your surgeon creates a large incision. This approach involves more cutting of your tissues.
In a minimally invasive surgery (MIS), your surgeon makes a smaller incision. This approach is associated with faster recovery and less pain. Laparoscopic surgery and robotic surgery are both minimally invasive approaches.
In traditional laparoscopic or robotic surgery, the surgeon makes three to five small incisions. The surgical team uses these ports as they insert instruments to perform the surgery. For example, they might use laparoscopic surgery to remove your kidney if needed.
In single-port robotic surgery, the surgeon makes only ONE small cut. They then connect a single-port robot to the port and perform the entire procedure through this opening.
Surgeons have used the single-port approach for many different types of procedures involving different organ systems, including:
People who are eligible for robotic surgery are generally good candidates for single port surgery with few exceptions. In addition, people who might not be eligible for the regular robotic surgery using the standard robot (those who’ve had multiple major abdominal surgeries, severe pulmonary or cardiac diseases, or morbid obesity) can be candidates for a single-port procedure. Your surgeon will consider your overall health and the severity of your condition when determining the best approach.
In general, you’ll follow the guidelines in place for laparoscopic or robotic surgery. Please follow these policies:
Because it uses only one port, single-port surgery leaves little to no scarring and may reduce complications that commonly occur after traditional open and even traditional laparoscopic abdominal surgery.
The advantages of single-port surgery include:
Umbilical incision three weeks after single-port nephrectomy (kidney removal) leaves little to no scarring.
The single-port approach is more challenging than traditional laparoscopy or robotic surgery because your surgeon has less freedom of movement with all instruments using the same entry point. Be sure your surgeon performs these procedures regularly and that it’s performed in a hospital that does many of these procedures each year.
In the skilled hands of an expert surgeon, you can usually return to normal activity two to four weeks after a single-port surgery. Your doctor will advise you when it is appropriate to do so.
If you have housework or other strenuous activities following your procedure, ask a friend or family member to help you. Recovery time from a single-port surgery is less than it would be for an open procedure. But it’s important to allow yourself time to recover.
There are multiple conditions involving different body parts for which your surgeon may suggest single-port surgery. Before leaving the surgery center, be sure to ask your care team when you should call them and when you should seek emergency care.
Generally speaking, you should call your healthcare provider if you notice any of the following symptoms after surgery:
Frequently, the terms single-port surgery and single-site surgery mean the same thing.
A note from Cleveland Clinic
Healthcare providers are constantly seeking to make surgical procedures less invasive. One newer technique is single-port surgery. Your provider will discuss this type of surgery with you if you’re a candidate and the appropriate procedure in your case. The advantages include less pain and a quicker recovery.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 08/21/2021.
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