New UAMS Surgeon’s Skills Enable Surgeries Without Incision

By todd

LITTLE ROCK – Diane Rhoden, M.D., a fellowship-trained surgeon in laparoscopic and endoscopic procedures, has joined the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS).


Rhoden’s highly specialized skills, which also include open surgery, allow UAMS to begin development of a Natural Orifice Transluminal Endoscopic Surgery (NOTES) program. Such a program will mean more surgeries using an endoscope through the mouth rather than through an incision in the abdomen.


“Dr. Rhoden represents one of a rare group that is highly trained in all three arenas of surgery and is the only person in this region to be so qualified,” said Michael Edwards, M.D., professor and chairman of the UAMS Department of Surgery. “We’re incredibly excited to have somebody with this most unique skill set that will allow UAMS to emerge as one of the major centers evolving this novel approach.”


“Performing surgery without the pain of an incision is clearly the future, and accessing internal organs through pre-existing natural orifices has the capacity to revolutionize post-operative recovery,” Edwards added. 


Rhoden, an assistant professor of surgery who joined UAMS in April, is focusing on upper gastrointestinal cases, although her unique skills will allow her to perform many other types of surgery. 


Rhoden most recently was an assistant professor in the Department of Surgery at the University of Oklahoma College of Medicine in Tulsa, Okla.


Rhoden received her medical degree in 1997 from the University of Miami School of Medicine in Miami, Fla., and completed a fellowship in Endoscopy and Interventional ERCP (Endoscopic Retrograde Cholangiopancreatography) at the University of Louisville in Kentucky. Her laparoscopic fellowship also was completed at the University of Louisville.


UAMS is the state’s only comprehensive academic health center, with five colleges, a graduate school, a medical center, six centers of excellence and a statewide network of regional centers. UAMS has about 2,435 students and 715 medical residents. It is one of the state’s largest public employers with about 9,400 employees, including nearly 1,000 physicians who provide medical care to patients at UAMS, Arkansas Children’s Hospital, the VA Medical Center and UAMS’ Area Health Education Centers throughout the state. UAMS and its affiliates have an economic impact in Arkansas of $5 billion a year. For more information, visit