BACKGROUND: As the field of minimally invasive surgery continues to develop, surgeons are confronted with the challenge of performing conventional laparoscopic surgeries through fewer incisions while maintaining the same degree of safety and surgical efficiency. Most of these methods involve elimination of the ports previously designated for retraction. As a result, minimally invasive surgeons have been forced to develop minimally invasive and ingenious methods for providing adequate retraction for these procedures. Herein we present our experience using endoloops and internal retractors to provide retraction during Single Incision Minimally Invasive Surgery (SIMIS) and Natural Orifice Transluminal Endoscopic Surgery (NOTES) cholecystectomy. We also present a review of the alternative retraction methods currently being employed for these surgeries. METHODS: SIMIS was performed on 20 patients and NOTES was performed on 5 patients at our institution. Endoloops or internal retractors were used to provide retraction for all SIMIS procedures. Internal retractors provided retraction for all NOTES procedures. RESULTS: Successful cholecystectomy was accomplished in all cases. One SIMIS surgery required conversion to standard laparoscopy due to complex anatomy. There were no intraoperative complications. Although adequate retraction was accomplished in all cases, the internal retractors were found to provide superior and more versatile retraction compared to that of endoloops. CONCLUSION: Adequate retraction greatly simplifies SIMIS and NOTES surgery. Endograb internal retractors were easy to use and were found to provide optimal retraction and exposure during these procedures without complications.
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