New technology makes surgery safer, shortens recovery time and leaves no scars.  Both physicians and patients are pleased with the results.  VOA's Carol Pearson has more.

Maria Viruet recently had her gallbladder removed through a single incision in her belly button. She lifts her gown to show her belly and says, "It's less scarring, one, and faster recovery."

"It's a great way to get into the belly,? says, Dr. Paul Curcillo, who teaches the technique at Drexel University in Philadelphia.

?It's safe.  It's located in a great position so we can see everything we're doing.  And there's less pain because we're not cutting through any muscle," he said.

Dr. Curcillo makes one incision then uses a pliable instrument that can move more like a surgeon's hand than the long, stiff laparoscopes surgeons have used for the past decade or so.

Since the incision is made in the belly button, few people ever notice the tiny mark left after surgery.

Surgeons are using this technique to remove diseased gall bladders and spleens, to perform hysterectomies and to repair hernias and colons.

"We've always been looking for something better and I really think this is going to be the next step in minimally invasive surgery, and it's really something great to offer the patients," Dr. Curcillo said.

Dr. Curcillo says he believes newer, even less invasive measures will be developed in the next several years, making today's surgical breakthroughs obsolete.