Brandy Marion and Brian Shiff, MD

Robotic-Assisted Gallbladder Removal Provides Brandy Relief While Minimizing Visibility of Scars

Sep 7 2022

“There were certain foods I couldn’t eat and every time I ate, I would get sick to my stomach,” Brandy Marion (pictured above, left) recalls. “Overall, I had lots of pain where the gallbladder is as well as indigestion and heartburn.”

When Brandy, a surgical assistant at Mercy Health – Clermont Hospital, had a kidney stone late last year, the ultrasound also revealed a gallbladder full of sludge.

The gallbladder is a small organ located near the liver. It stores and releases bile created by the liver that helps with the digestion. When the gallbladder fails to empty completely, particles in the bile can thicken and become something called biliary sludge, also known as gallbladder sludge.

Brandy consulted with Brian Shiff, MD, (pictured above, right) one of our general surgeons (pictured above, right). Dr. Shiff recommended she have her gallbladder removed, a procedure called cholecystectomy.

In response to Dr. Shiff’s suggestions, Brandy had a special request.

“I told him that I’m getting married and going on honeymoon this month,” Brandy shares. “Another surgical assistant told me about a bikini line incision option for my procedure. That’s what I wanted, because the incisions are located where you can’t see them. Another benefit is that instead of having four incision sites, there’s only three with this option. I brought it up to Dr. Shiff and he decided I would be a good candidate for the procedure.”

On April 14, 2022, Dr. Shiff performed the region’s first robotic-assisted cholecystectomy with a bikini line incision, in line with Brandy’s wishes. Overall, he was happy to be able to give her what she wanted.

“For the appropriate candidate, the bikini line approach is a great option for a better cosmetic result from gallbladder surgery,” Dr. Shiff shares.

Robotic-assisted gallbladder removal is an outpatient procedure. So, after a couple hours’ stay at the hospital, Brandy went home. She also spent one week off work recovering.

“The first few days were rough but after that, I was perfectly fine,” she says. “I feel a lot better.”

Dr. Shiff has performed 321 cholecystectomy surgeries since 2020. The average surgery time is 17 minutes.

“I would tell people that if their gallbladder is bothering them that bad, I totally recommend having it out,” Brandy says. “Obviously don’t have surgery if you don’t need it, but be sure to explore your options.”

Learn more about the gastroenterology services as well as the robotic surgery services we offer at Mercy Health.

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