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Research on minimally-invasive surgery wins grant (5/28/97)

If you were diagnosed with colon cancer tomorrow and your doctor recommended surgery, you might choose to have a traditional operation--but did you know that laparoscopic surgery, which requires a smaller incision and less time to heal, is also available?

Jay S. Stauffer, MD, assistant professor of surgery at The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio and director of the Center for Minimally Invasive Surgical Technology (CMIST), was recently awarded a 1997 grant to continue research into minimally invasive types of surgery, such as colon and spleen resections and hernia repairs.

"The list of procedures being done laparoscopically is growing every day," Dr. Stauffer said, "and more research and development needs to be done. Also, we need to set up a teaching institute to keep surgeons up to date on new technologies.

"We submitted these ideas to the San Antonio Area Foundation, they thought we had some good ideas, and they funded us," Dr. Stauffer said.

The surgeon explained that the department is developing new technologies and looking at the physiological effects on patients of laparoscopic surgery.

"This technology is not limited to the abdomen," Dr. Stauffer explained. "The thorax and cutaneous sites are areas of current and future research, and we hope to include cardiothoracic, plastic, urologic and gynecologic surgeons in this project as well."

Laparoscopic surgery is performed through a small hole in the abdomen with the assistance of a camera, instead of with a normal incision. Although the laparoscopic procedure sometimes takes longer than open surgery, patients recover more quickly and tend to leave the hospital sooner.

Surgeons in the CMIST group will perform surgeries primarily at the University Hospital and the Audie L. Murphy Memorial Veterans Hospital. The surgeons will offer consulting services and may expand to other local hospitals in the future.

Dr. Stauffer will be awarded the San Antonio Area Foundation grant at a ceremony on Thursday, May 29, 1997 in the Gallery of Fine Arts at St. Philip's College, from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. A reception will be held from 5:00 to 5:45 p.m., followed by a welcome from Ms. Margaret Anderson, chairman of the San Antonio Area Foundation.

Contact: Jan Elkins (210) 567-2670