On April 14, Mercy Health physician and general surgeon Brian Shiff, MD, performed the region’s first robotic-assisted cholecystectomy with a bikini line incision at Mercy Health – Clermont Hospital

Cholecystectomy is the term used to describe gallbladder removal. Surgeons can remove gallbladders through one long incision in open surgery or via a minimally invasive procedure called laparoscopic cholecystectomy. This typically involves inserting a small camera and surgical tools through four small incisions in upper the abdomen. 

A third option is the one that Dr. Shiff uses.

“I use a robotically assisted method. It gives me better visualization and is the most appropriate method for the bikini line approach,” Dr. Shiff says. 

Dr. Shiff’s patient, Brandy Marion, a surgical assistant at the hospital, was experiencing chronic pain and discomfort from her gallbladder, which couldn’t empty completely, leading to particles in the organ thickening and become something called biliary sludge, or gallbladder sludge.

When Dr. Shiff recommended removal, Marion asked if she was a candidate for a less common gallbladder removal method called a bikini line cholecystectomy.

“I’m getting married and going on honeymoon later this year,” Marion says. “I wanted the bikini line incision option because the scars from the incisions are located where you can’t see them. There’s also only three incisions instead of four with this option.”

Dr. Shiff determined that Marion was a good candidate for the procedure, leading to this first for the surgeon. Dr. Shiff can determine if a patient is a good candidate for the option during consultation.

“Like all minimally invasive surgeries, robotically assisted gallbladder removal lessens patients’ recovery time and lowers their risk of infection following surgery. For those patients who qualify, the bikini line approach offers a better cosmetic outcome post-surgery,” Dr. Shiff says.

Dr. Shiff performs robotic-assisted gallbladder removal as an outpatient procedure. Since 2020, he’s performed 321 cholecystectomy surgeries at Mercy Health – Clermont Hospital and Mercy Health – Anderson Hospital with an average surgery time of 17 minutes. The bikini line option is available to qualified candidates at both locations. 

Dr. Shiff practices from Mercy Health – General and Laparoscopic Surgery, Anderson, 7502 State Road, Suite 1180, Cincinnati, Ohio 45255, and Mercy Health – General and Laparoscopic Surgery, Clermont, 2055 Hospital Drive, Suite 265, Batavia, Ohio 45103. For more information or to make an appointment, please call 513-624-2955 (Anderson) or 513-732-9300 (Clermont).