Back in the Game
"She had all the classic symptoms—pain in her lower abdomen, nausea and vomiting—and the onset was very sudden," says Deborah Fain, Megan’s mother and a medical assistant for David Bray, MD, an internist in Demorest.
After a particularly painful episode while Megan was at school, Deborah picked Megan up and took her to Dr. Bray’s office for an exam including blood work and an ultrasound."I didn’t want a big scar across my stomach," says 12-year-old Megan Fain, who had her gallbladder removed using the single port access technique.
Gallbladder surgery at 12-years-old? Seems unbelievable, but that is what Megan Fain faced this past May.
"Her ultrasound results showed sludge, but not stones, in her gallbladder, but because of the severity of her symptoms, Dr. Bray referred us to a surgeon to discuss Megan’s options," says Deborah. "We were a little surprised at the diagnosis, but our family has a history of gallbladder problems—both my mom and I also have had our gallbladders removed."
The Fains met with Casey Graybeal, MD, a surgeon with Northeast Georgia Surgical Associates in Gainesville, and after a consultation, decided to proceed with surgically removing Megan’s gallbladder.
"The pain wasn’t going away, so I wanted them to remove the problem, but I didn’t want a big scar across my stomach," says Megan. However, when Dr. Graybeal explained that he could do the surgery through a single opening, and that Megan was a great candidate for the single port option, the Fains, especially Megan, were thrilled.
Megan’s procedure and recovery went even better than the family expected. After having her surgery on a Wednesday morning, and being released later that day, Megan returned to school the following Tuesday.
"The whole experience was wonderful," says Deborah. "It seemed like Megan recovered much more quickly than I did when I had my procedure, and she had very little pain afterward—the whole process was just very good all around."
"I was very happy about how quickly I felt better and was able to play sports again, and you can hardly see the scar!" says Megan, who is active in basketball, volleyball and softball. "Plus, I feel amazing now—no pain!"
Ready for Summer
For several months, Cyndi Gattis had occasionally suffered from bouts of abdominal pain, nausea and indigestion. "The symptoms would just hit me, and I would feel horrible for at least a day, sometimes longer," Cyndi says.
After a particularly bad weekend, Cyndi called her doctor. "I knew something was wrong, but I didn’t know what—I just knew I couldn’t live that way any longer," she says.
After an abdominal MRI and a DISIDA scan, a test performed to detect problems with the gallbladder, the doctor told Cyndi that her gallbladder was not working properly and recommended surgery to remove it. Cyndi was referred to Chad Copper, MD, a surgeon with The Longstreet Clinic, who offered Cyndi the single port access option.
"Dr. Copper explained that the surgery was done through one small incision at the navel, and he said he could perform the procedure through an existing scar I had from a previous surgery," Cyndi says. So, less than a week after her diagnosis, Cyndi had her gallbladder removed through her belly button.
After having her surgery on a Friday, Gattis returned to work the following week and was extremely pleased with her results. "My recovery was quick, and I had no problems," she says. "The best part is the incision site isn’t even noticeable." Gattis adds that while the choice is a personal one, she is pleased with her decision and is "looking forward to wearing my two-piece swimsuit this summer without worrying about a scar!"