Doctor Ramzi Alami explains how he removed a cancerous colon through a small incision on the belly button of his patient. (The Daily Star/Mahmoud Kheir)
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Ramzi Alami had been waiting for the right colon cancer patient to come along for a while. The surgeon was eager to perform an innovative procedure that would see the diseased organ removed through just one small incision in the belly button – an essentially scar-less operation with a quick healing time.Then last month, that person found him: a young and otherwise healthy woman who was unlikely to have complications from surgery.The operation was performed at AUBMC on Feb. 12, making it the first such procedure in the region and the second worldwide.The small incision – some 4 centimeters over the belly button instead of the traditional 30 centimeters across the entire abdomen – allows for a speedier recovery time and minimal scarring.Alami had removed benign colons in other procedures, having spent eight years living and working in San Francisco – first as a two-year fellow at Stanford, where he got specialized training in single incision surgery, and then as a general surgeon at Kaiser Medical Center. However, he pointed out that removing a cancerous organ took special precision.
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