STRATFORD, N.J. (CBS) – In sleeve gastrectomy, a portion of the stomach is removed and what remains is reshaped to resemble a sleeve, normally doctors make several small incisions in the stomach area, leaving several scars.

Dr. Alex Gandsas, chair of the department of surgery at UMDNJ school of osteopathic medicine, is now performing the surgery through the belly button, which covers up the scars. “Obviously it’s more challenging. It will require different types of instruments and the industry is actually starting to look at this new type of technique to develop new types of instruments for this type of operation,” said Gandsas.

He said doctors know the main benefit is cosmetic but another benefit is being studied. “The person looking in the mirror would not see any extra scarring except the umbilical scar and the other advantage, which is still under invesgtigation, is if that provides less pain,” Gandsas said.

He admits the procedure is more challenging for doctors and not every patient is a candidate.

Reported by Lynne Adkins, KYW Newsradio