Laparoscopic surgery, which started with gall bladder removal in the late 1980’s, has now expanded in use to almost all major abdominal operations---from inguinal hernias to colon resections for diseases such as cancer and diverticulitis. Faster recovery times, fewer wound complications and infections, and less scaring have all been demonstrated in major institutional publications.
Richard H. Koehler, MD FACS has been involved in this field virtually from its inceptions starting in 1991. Then an Assistant Clinical Professor in Surgery at the University of California, Davis-East Bay, Dr. Koehler found himself in the right place at the right time. “This was a revolutionary change in general surgical technique, and California was a high technology environment without some of the conservative old school attitudes---which kept many well established institutions from advancing into this field.”
By 1994, Dr. Koehler had numerous publications and presentations in advanced laparoscopic surgery, including two first-case reports in laparoscopy for splenic and diaphragmatic trauma. Since moving back to his native Cape & Islands area and into private practice, he has kept up his academic pursuits: he currently has accrued 41 publications, book chapters and abstracts, taught 30 advanced laparoscopic courses---including many live telesurgery demonstrations, has been an invited speaker on 32 occasions around the country as well as in Germany, Spain, and Hungary, and has been a Grand Rounds speaker at Massachusetts General Hospital as well as affiliated hospitals with Tufts and Yale.
Dr. Koehler has a particular interest in laparoscopic colon surgery and laparoscopic hernia surgery. He has been performing these procedures since 1992. Dr. Koehler also has an interest in intraabdominal adhesion-related complications. “Adhesion related complications---often the result of large incisions---are a major cause of re-admissions to hospitals after abdominal surgery, and can result in a lifetime of pain and reoperative problems. We’re beginning to see this cycle broken by doing the same major surgery with laparoscopy.”
Dr Koehler is an expert-level recreational skier, a lifelong avid sailor, and he has completed seven full-length marathons, including the 2006 Boston Marathon and 2006 Marine Corps Marathon. He holds a medical device patent, enjoys repairing his 1956 Willys Jeep Truck, and he continues to struggle at playing a limited repertoire on classical piano.