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 - Northwestern Memorial Hospital - Chicago


Physicians at Northwestern Memorial are leading advances in minimally invasive surgery. These advances now allow doctors to perform surgery through the mouth and vagina. Many medical professionals believe that this type of laparoscopic-assisted procedure, called NOTES (Natural Orifice Translumenal Endoscopic Surgery) is laying the groundwork for truly incision-less surgery. This would mean that surgeries could be performed without cutting into the body at all, which would offer patients many benefits.

Surgeons performing NOTES at Northwestern Memorial

  • Nathaniel Soper, MD, surgeon, Director of Minimally Invasive Surgery, and the Loyal and Edith Davis Professor of Surgery at Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine
  • Eric Hungness, MD, surgeon and Assistant Professor of Surgery at the Feinberg School of Medicine
  • John Martin, MD, gastroenterologist, Director of Endoscopy, and Associate Professor of Medicine and Surgery at the Feinberg School of Medicine

As of February 2009, the team had removed a patient's gallbladder through the vagina, making them the first in the Midwest and the third in the country to perform the innovative procedure. In August, 2007, they were the second team to remove a gallbladder through the mouth.

They were the first team in the country to use NOTES to perform gallbladder removals both through the vagina and through the mouth.

Benefits of NOTES Over Traditional Minimally Invasive Surgery

In addition to all of the benefits of minimally invasive surgery, NOTES holds the potential to:

  • Reduce a patient's recovery time to as little as one day by eliminating incisions through the nerve-filled abdominal wall
  • Ease the pain and discomfort associated with traditional procedures
    • The stomach and GI tract have very few nerves that register pain, which may allow surgeons to perform NOTES procedures with patients under sedation rather than general anesthesia, lessening operative risks to the patients
  • Decrease the incidence of post-surgical wound infections and hernias
  • Lower risk of damage to tissue and surrounding structures

Future of NOTES

According to Dr. Soper, “NOTES is well-received by patients and holds the potential to replace traditional laparoscopic surgery for a wide range of procedures in the future.”

In the coming months, surgeons at Northwestern Memorial will begin utilizing NOTES for a broader range of applications, including appendix removal through the vagina and the diagnosis and treatment of pelvic pain.


If you are interested in speaking to one of our surgeons about NOTES, and you’d like to make a first time appointment, please call our Physician Referral Department at 1-877-926-4664 or request an appointment online.

Last UpdateFebruary 8, 2011


To make an appointment with a physician, please call 1-877-926-4664.

New patients can request an appointment online.