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Atlantic General Hospital Surgeon Performs Appendectomy Through Belly Button

On April 30, an Eastern Shore patient suffering from appendicitis, a common condition that has been treated surgically since the late 1800s, was on the receiving end of a very new approach: removal of the infected appendix through a small incision in the belly button.

Performed by Thuan Dang, M.D., a general surgeon at Atlantic General Hospital, the SILS (Single Incision Laparoscopic Surgery) Port appendectomy was the first of its kind in the region. With this new device, Dang was able to make a small incision roughly two centimeters long – smaller than the diameter of a nickel – in the belly button, insert instruments and remove the appendix.

Under the skilled hands of a surgeon such as Dang, the procedure lasted just a few minutes longer than a normal appendectomy, taking minimally invasive laparoscopic surgery that involves three or four small incisions one step further.

Though studies have yet to be conducted on this new device, it is theorized that the single point of entry will mean less pain and an even quicker recovery for patients. A cosmetic benefit, however, is very clear: no scars.

U.S. surgeons have been performing SILS single incision laparascopic surgery through the umbilicus for more than a year now. However, the process was cumbersome with limited means to stabilize the multiple port instruments used. With this new technology, more single incision surgeries are being performed.

“Since the inception of laparoscopic surgery in the 80s, the goals have remained unchanged: to minimize the patient's post-op pain while achieving equal or superior results as the comparable open procedure,” said Dang. “This must be achieved with unwavering commitment to patient safety.”

“The SILS technique has developed as the next step toward those goals,” he continued. “Minimally invasive procedures that once required three or four incisions now can be performed through one. Currently the SILS technique is being used for gall bladders, appendectomies and even donor nephrectomies. As surgeons become more comfortable with the equipment, that scope will only increase.”

About Dr. Thuan Dang
Thuan Dang, M.D. joined the medical staff at Atlantic General Hospital in 2003. He completed his internship and residency at Drexel University College of Medicine in Philadelphia after graduating from Howard University College of Medicine. Dr. Dang is board certified by the American Board of Surgery. Appointments can be made by calling his private practice at 410-629-1463.

About Atlantic General Hospital
Physicians perform more than 4,500 inpatient and outpatient surgeries each year at Atlantic General Hospital, located in Berlin, Md. From tonsillectomies to joint replacement operations, Atlantic General is proud to provide state-of-the-art surgical suites and a highly experienced staff, including a full team of board-certified anesthesiologists. In addition to general surgeries, more advanced procedures are performed including gynecology, bariatric, plastic, eye, and joint surgeries. For more information about Atlantic General Hospital’s services, visit