Alex Gandsas, MD, Performs First “Scarless” Weight-Loss Surgery (Sleeve Gastrectomy) at Kennedy University Hospital
Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Dr. Alex Gandsas

Kennedy University Hospital’s Bariatric Surgery Program now offers “scarless” (i.e. non-visible scar) single-port sleeve gastrectomy, a surgical weight-loss procedure. Alex Gandsas, MD, MBA, recently became the first Kennedy physician to perform this “scarless” single-incision weight-loss surgery at Kennedy Hospital-Stratford on a 42-year-old woman from Sewell, NJ. Instead of the usual six incisions required to perform bariatric laparoscopic surgery, this new procedure uses only one incision – through the patient’s naval (i.e. belly button) – significantly improving the cosmetic result.

“The belly button is the body's natural scar,” Dr. Gandsas said. “By performing the procedure through one single incision in the naval, the resulting scar is practically invisible."

A laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy is traditionally performed through six incisions, ranging in size from .5 to 1.5 centimeters in diameter. These incisions allow the required surgical instruments to be inserted, as well as a special camera to view structures inside the abdomen. But with single-port sleeve gastrectomy, the same surgical equipment is guided through just one incision in the naval.

While more technically challenging for the surgeon than other minimally invasive bariatric procedures because of ergonomics, patient outcomes with single-incision sleeve gastrectomy are excellent, said Dr. Gandsas, Kennedy – Stratford’s Chief of Surgery and a Professor and Chair of the Department of Surgery at UMDNJ-SOM. Minimally invasive procedures are associated with shorter length of stay, less pain and quicker return to normal activity.

The technique is different but the principles of single-incision Sleeve Gastrectomy are identical to the conventional laparoscopic approach. The ideal candidate for the single-incision sleeve gastrectomy has:

·         A body mass index less than 45kg/m

·         Has had no prior abdominal surgery

·         Do not have a lot of central obesity, i.e., a thicker abdominal wall.

Kennedy University Hospital’s Bariatric Surgery Program, based at its Stratford, NJ, hospital, offers several options for qualified weight-loss surgery patients, including Laparoscopic Adjustable Gastric Banding, or LAP-BAND® surgery – which has been performed by Kennedy Bariatric surgeon Louis Balsama, D.O., as a single-incision procedure on qualified patients -- Roux-en-Y gastric bypass, and sleeve gastrectomy. The Kennedy Bariatric Program is accredited by the American College of Surgeons' Bariatric Surgery Center Network (ACS BSCN).

Prior to joining Kennedy in 2010, Dr. Gandsas had served as Chief of the Division of Bariatric Surgery and Director of Minimally Invasive Surgery at Sinai Hospital of Baltimore, and was an Associate Professor of Surgery at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. A 1985 graduate of the University of Buenos Aires School of Medicine in Argentina, Dr. Gandsas completed a Minimally Invasive Surgery Fellowship at Duke University in 2000 and a Bariatric Surgery Fellowship at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center in 2001. In addition to his medical degree, Dr. Gandsas holds a Master in Business Administration degree from the Johns Hopkins University Carey Business School in Baltimore, MD.