SILS – Surely Invented to Lessen Suffering

I can’t forget the pain on the night of November 2, 2009 at around 2.30 in the night. The pain in my abdomen and back was immense and I was unable to move in any direction whatsoever. No medicine provided relief. I usually had stomach pain once every month (that too at the same time during the night) which continued for 3 hours. I kept thinking that it was a gas problem and never paid much attention to it. But the pain on the night of November 2, 2009 was so severe that I told myself that “IF” tomorrow comes, I will visit the doctor first thing and resolve this problem. The pain subsided after 3 hours (as always). I visited my family doctor the next day and he prescribed some medicines for gas problem. However, after examination he felt that my abdomen was a little tender and therefore asked me to get blood test and ultrasonography done before visiting him next. I got the tests done the next morning and visited him in the evening. After perusing my reports, he informed me that I have a gallstone problem and that cholecystectomy (removal of gall bladder) was required. He also informed me that it could be done by laparoscopy and therefore there was nothing to worry about. However, on the insistence of my parents, I sought a second opinion from a renowned doctor from a famous hospital. He also was of the opinion that cholecystectomy was necessary. By now I had accepted the fact that I will have to say bye to my gall bladder but what scared me the most was the surgery part. The doctor assured me 90% the surgery would be performed laparoscopically but 10% chances were that I would require open surgery. This was going to be my very first surgery of any kind and therefore I began reading everything I could get my hands on about the gall bladder and cholecystectomy. By the time I was done I was scared to death to have the surgery.

I was then referred to Dr. Deepraj Bhandarkar who is a renowned laparoscopic surgeon. I visited him, and for the first time I was informed of this magic called SILC (Single Incision Laparoscopic Cholecystectomy) or SILS (Single Incision Laparoscopic Surgery). Dr. Bhandarkar assured me 99% the surgery would be performed thru SILC and 1% chances were that he would require the regular three/four port laparoscopy to be conducted. I WAS RELIEVED. He suggested me to visit this very site i.e. and get answers to my apprehensions (I guess he read all the questions that were written across my face) with respect to the surgery. I sure visited this site and absorbed knowledge of the procedure involved but I also surfed the Internet for other people’s experiences pre and post cholecystectomy which again put me in the depression mode. I was also a little scared to experiment the surgery through single incision when not many had even heard of it and I too, was hearing it for the first time.

Nevertheless, I trusted my doctor and had faith in his expertise. As scheduled, I got admitted to the hospital on the previous evening of the surgery. My surgery was scheduled on 1st December, 2009. I was advised to fast since the morning. I left my room around 3 pm, had my surgery, was observed in the recovery area for am hour so and was finally back in the room by 6.30 p.m. When I regained consciousness, I was on my bed in my hospital room. I actually walked around my room (without support from anybody) after about 4 hours of regaining consciousness. I was very very pleased to experience this because I had not even in my dreams thought that I would be able to walk around so soon after the surgery. I had no pain, no nausea and no vomiting. That’s when I realized that the doctor had done something as good as magic. Only my abdomen felt a little heavy which eventually felt normal the next morning. The next day I was put me on soft diet and by evening I had normal dinner. The following morning i.e.3rd December, 2009 I was discharged and was relieved to return home. I was asked to avoid lifting heavy weights for a few days. On 10th December, 2009 the day of my follow up visit, the doctor changed my dressing and I noticed just a small incision within my navel.

Today, 62 days after my surgery, when I am penning down my experience, the incision mark has disappeared and so has the fear regarding SILS. I have had no side effects from the surgery and am leading a normal life. In fact, no one even guesses that I have undergone a surgery recently. Therefore, for me SILS means “Surely Invented to Lessen Suffering”.

Kusum Kanaujia