Incisions Smaller Than Width Of Fingernail Possible With Holston Valley's Single-Site Da Vinci

Surgeons at Holston Valley Medical Center continue to perform operations with their usual skill and care — now with incisions sometimes smaller than the width of a fingernail.

That is possible with the hospital’s new single-site surgery with the da Vinci Surgical System. First offered in March, single-site surgery requires only one small incision of less than an inch through a patient’s navel.

Holston Valley currently uses the single-site technology to remove gallbladders and parts of kidneys and bladders. In the future, the hospital’s surgeons hope to use it for appendectomies and certain colon surgeries as well.

“Single-site surgery has the potential to be a real game-changer for our patients," said Dr. Mark Kadowaki, a surgeon with Wellmont Medical Associates Surgery. "It’s a forerunner to even safer, less invasive surgeries in the future.”

Benefits of da Vinci surgery include reduced time in the operating room, which means less anesthesia. Additionally, the small incision site lowers a patient’s risk of infection, and patients who undergo surgery with da Vinci are back on their feet within hours or days.

“We’re thrilled to provide this service to our patients as part of the comprehensive, high-quality care we deliver every day,” said Virginia Frank, Holston Valley’s president. “As Kingsport’s flagship hospital, we are at the forefront of technology and new treatments so our patients can heal faster and return to their families, friends and work sooner.”

Holston Valley’s da Vinci system includes a high-powered, three-dimensional camera, allowing surgeons a better view of the surgery field. It features multiple robotic arms, controlled by a surgeon, such as Dr. Kadowaki, at a nearby console.

The system can be used to perform complex and delicate procedures with great accuracy while requiring smaller incisions. These include removal of cancers of the prostate, kidney and bladder; hysterectomies; and treatment of other benign and malignant gynecological conditions.

Holston Valley acquired the da Vinci with generous donations from many philanthropic companies and individuals to Wellmont Foundation.

To learn more about da Vinci and Wellmont’s other surgical services and ways to support Holston Valley, please visit