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Drexel University College of Medicine Hosts World's First Single Port Access (SPA™) Surgery Course

November 13, 2008

Drexel University College of Medicine will host surgeons from around the world for the first ever course dedicated to Single Port Access (SPA™) surgery, a minimally invasive procedure developed at Drexel that leaves patients with a hidden scar. The course will be held November 17-18, 2008, in Center City, Philadelphia.

The Single Port Access (SPA™) surgery technique was pioneered at Drexel University College of Medicine by Paul G. Curcillo II, MD, associate professor and vice chair of the Department of Surgery, and Stephanie A. King, MD, associate professor and chief of the Division of Gynecologic Oncology. It allows physicians to perform a variety of surgical procedures via a single incision in the patient’s belly button.

Curcillo became the first surgeon in the world to successfully remove a woman’s gallbladder using this technique in May 2007. The patient experienced minimal discomfort, recovered quickly, and was left with a hidden scar. This compares to traditional laparoscopic gallbladder removal, which requires three to four incisions - one in the belly button, the others routinely made throughout the abdomen and lower chest, leaving obvious scarring.

In June 2007, King performed the world’s first SPA oopherectomy (ovary removal). Once again, the patient experienced minimal discomfort, recovered quickly, and was left with no visible scar. Since those first cases, Curcillo and King have performed almost 200 SPA surgeries, including hysterectomies, hernia repairs, removal of gallbladders, ovaries, abdominal masses, spleens and appendixes. The technique has also been used in stomach, bowel, and colon surgeries.

“Since we first started doing SPA, we have been approached by surgeons all around the world who wanted to learn the technique,” said Curcillo, who along with King, has presented at seminars and conferences worldwide. “We decided that we should develop our own course and invite people here to learn. The response has been overwhelming.”

The two-day course will include presentations by Curcillo, King, and distinguished guest faculty. Surgeons will then participate in hands-on workshops in the labs at Drexel University College of Medicine’s Center for Minimally Invasive Surgery.