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Being able to perform virtually any urologic surgery with just one incision – and a much smaller one than with other techniques – is a key benefit of “Single Port” surgeries being performed at UNC.

Like a scene in a futuristic movie, the process begins with 4 robotic surgical arms that are folded together in a tight bundle so they can enter the patient with a very small, 2.5 cm incision. Once inside the patient, the arms separate and can each be manipulated independently to perform any task needed by a specially trained urologic surgeon sitting at a robotic console nearby in the operating room. The surgeon sees what’s happening via a camera attached to one of the arms.

When the surgeon moves their hands or wrists while performing a procedure, the specially designed robotic surgical arms perfectly mimic the same movements within the patient, offering an exceptionally high level of precision as well as access.

Instead of two hands, the surgeon in essence has four, according to a leading urologist specializing in the advanced technique; Marc Bjurlin, DO, Associate Professor of Urology at UNC. He received specialized training in order to perform the procedure and additional training that certifies him to teach other UNC urologists.

“We only need to make a single incision instead of multiple incisions, which typically translates into less post operative pain, and the patient being able to leave the hospital sooner,” says Dr. Bjurlin.

“We’re using a leading technology to provide complex surgical cancer and other urologic care through an extremely minimally invasive approach that allows patients to return to their normal quality of life.”

Marc Bjurlin, DO, MSc, FACOS
Co-Director of Clinical Trials
Associate Professor of Urology

Marc Bjurlin, DO, MSc,


Dr. Bjurlin adds that there are some situations in which the Single Port approach is better suited to specific patients. “As just one example, if a patient has had multiple previous abdominal surgeries we are better able to avoid areas with existing scar tissue in order to access to the areas we need to access. We only need to enter in one location and can also put the instrument into a very small working space. I’ve seen numerous instances where this was a distinct patient benefit.”

Dr. Mathew Raynor, a Professor of Urology at UNC who also utilizes the technique adds an additional perspective. “The single port robotic platform provides the ability to explore new and innovative approaches to traditional multi-port robotic surgeries in ways that can be tailored to each patient to provide the best possible outcome,” he says.

UNC is the leading urologic provider of the Single Port technique in N.C., and one of only two locations in the state providing Single Port procedures. The number of Single Port procedures performed at UNC is increasingly steadily and is expected to continue to continue to do so.

If you or a loved one are interested in learning more about these procedures or related urologic topics, you may visit our website’s Patient Care section, or meet with a provider by contacting one of our UNC Urology clinic locations.

About Our Ahead of the Curve Series

Our “Ahead of the Curve” blog series covers the latest and most effective treatments and techniques in UNC Urology patient care. Urology is a complex and rapidly evolving field, with new advancements and breakthroughs constantly emerging. In this series, we will explore a range of topics related to urology patient care, including advanced surgical procedures, innovative diagnostic techniques, and innovative medical therapies. Our goal is to provide you with an overview of the excellence and innovation happening right here at UNC Urology.

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