Mercy Minimally Invasive Surgeon Dr. T.J. Swope Discusses Robotic Gallbladder Surgery Using “Firefly” Imaging

November 26, 2013
Dr. T.J. Swope

Mercy’s Dr. T.J. Swope discusses gallbladder surgery with WBAL-TV11 News

Advanced technology is helping to make gallbladder surgery less invasive and more precise for those who need it.

Krista Wilkinson, 36, remembers the night she found out she had gallbladder disease.

"I woke up in the middle of the night in excruciating pain. I had no idea what was happening to me," she said.

After being treated in an emergency room, Wilkinson was referred to the care of Dr. T.J. Swope, Director, Center for Minimally Invasive Surgery at Mercy Medical Center, who performed a single-site surgery using a robot and Firefly imaging.

"Doing it robotically is a little different than laparoscopic. It's the same operation, but you have the advantage of the robot, which gives you a two-way camera. So, instead of operating two-dimensionally, we're operating three-dimensionally on TV," Dr. Swope said.

According to Dr. Swope, this provides the surgeon with better depth perception and the ability to see more details with greater clarity, making him a “safer surgeon.”.

The use of Firefly imaging requires the patient to get an injection of green dye while waiting for their surgery.

"When we inject the dye and look at it on TV with a camera, we can see it in a normal light, like with a camcorder. Then we can flip it over to infrared light, and it lights up like a black light poster, and it makes it easier for me to identify the anatomy and avoid potential errors," Dr. Swope explained.

Ms. Wilkinson  noted she's satisfied with her surgery and the results, especially with having no scar. The small incision is hidden inside her belly button.

"I went easily back into culinary exploration after. I can eat anything I want. I don't miss it," she said.

View Dr. Swope’s interview regarding minimally invasive gall bladder surgery using the robot and the Firefly imaging.

Dan Collins - Senior Director of Media Relations at Mercy Medical Center

Dan Collins, Senior Director of Media Relations

Email: Office: 410-332-9714 Cell: 410-375-7342

About Mercy

Founded in 1874, Mercy Medical Center is a university-affiliated medical facility named one of the top 100 hospitals in the U.S. by Thomson-Reuters with a national reputation for women’s health. Mercy is home to the nationally acclaimed Weinberg Center for Women’s Health and Medicine as well as the $400+ million, 20-story Mary Catherine Bunting Center. For more information visit Mercy online at, Facebook, Twitter or call 1-800-MD-MERCY.

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