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Scarless Surgery for Kids
BACKGROUND: Tumors are lumps of tissue that form when cells divide uncontrollably. Not all tumors are malignant (cancerous); benign tumors don't spread from their original location but can come back at the same site. One type of tumor that affects children is a teratoma. Teratomas are characterized by being made up of tissues not native to the site of the tumor. These types of tumors generally develop before birth and are made of the three types of cells found in a growing baby: the ectoderm, entoderm and mesoderm. Teratomas are generally benign and have the potential to form human structures like hair and bone. According to Children's Hospital Boston, the cause of teratomas is not completely understood. The first line of treatment is normally surgery to remove the tumor.
SINGLE-PORT SURGERY: Single port laparoscopic surgery is a procedure performed through a single incision in the patient's belly button, leaving behind no visible scar. Surgeons insert a tiny camera to view the surgical area and perform the operation with laparoscopic instruments. The procedure has only recently been performed on children. In a study presented at last year's American Academy of Pediatrics convention, surgeons suggested "single port laparoscopy is safe and efficacious in children of all ages." Twenty-six children were involved in the study and underwent single port laparoscopic operations. Two cases required an additional incision, and the duration of the operations were found to be significantly longer than traditional, multi-incision laparoscopic surgery. Among the surgeries performed with the new method were splenectomies and appendectomies.
Surgeons at St. Christopher's Hospital for Children in Philadelphia recently performed a rare surgical feat in children -- removing a large ovarian tumor through single port surgery. The medical team drained the tumor while it was inside the patient and then removed it through the belly button. The patient suffered a teratoma the size of a grapefruit on her ovary and now has no visible scar.