Dr. Patrick Chiasson at the Southern Arizona Center for Minimally Invasive Surgery has become the first surgeon in Arizona to offer a SPIDER gastric sleeve procedure for patients seeking to lose weight.

Chiasson is using the SPIDER® Surgical System to perform the weight-loss procedure through a small incision made near the patient’s belly button – resulting in a virtually invisible scar. He also is using the novel platform to perform a single-incision cholecystectomy, or gallbladder removal.

Called sleeve gastrectomy or gastric sleeve, the procedure has become the nation’s fastest growing option for surgically supported weight loss because of multiple patient benefits, Chiasson said.

“Bariatric surgery is a medical decision patients thoughtfully consider for quite some time – it’s not a choice made lightly,” Chiasson said. “As a surgeon, I want to support my patient’s life-changing decision by making it as minimally invasive as possible. The SPIDER System allows me to do that without requiring me to sacrifice dexterity or visualization at the operating site.”

During a gastric sleeve, the surgeon removes about 80 percent of the patient’s stomach, leaving a small tube – or “sleeve” – to serve as a smaller new stomach. A smaller stomach means patients feel satisfied after eating less food. 

The SPIDER Surgical System by TransEnterix allows Chiasson to perform a gastric sleeve procedure using fewer incisions than required with traditional laparoscopic surgical tools.

With the SPIDER System, Chiasson makes a small incision, inserts the device and opens it inside the patient’s abdomen like an umbrella. SPIDER’s expansion allows him to comfortably and precisely manipulate 360-degree-rotating, flexible instruments at angles that enhance the surgical procedure. When the procedure is completed, he closes the system and removes it through the same incision.

“By making fewer incisions than previously required, I can provide my patient with a more pleasing cosmetic outcome,” Chiasson said. “And that’s important because my patient is working hard to recover quickly, make wise choices and lose weight. By using SPIDER, I help support her forward momentum.”

Last year, the New England Journal of Medicine – one of the world’s most respected peer-reviewed medical journals – published studies demonstrating that sleeve gastrectomy was more effective in treating Type 2 diabetes than medicine, diet and exercise alone.