Doctors Try Surgery Without Breaking Skin

Critics fear scarless method is 'moving too quickly'
By Sam Gale Rosen,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 8, 2008 6:19 PM CST
Surgeons are at work in this undated file photo.   (
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(Newser) – Doctors are trying a new surgical method that uses natural orifices to enter the body, leaves no scars, and lessens the chance of infection, the Boston Globe reports. It's called NOTES—natural orifice translumenal endoscopic surgery—and is being tested mostly on animals so far. Experts are already worried about the hidden dangers of the difficult, still-evolving method, which can remove a gallbladder or appendix through a patient's mouth.

"There need to be brakes put on this by the medical community," one expert says. Another hopes it will become the method of the future: "The holy grail is that it would be like getting a root canal—you go in (for surgery) and you can go to work the next day." NOTES may be comparable to minimally invasive surgery procedures that became popular in the 1980s and led to errors, malpractice suits, and even deaths.