Wife, Mother and da Vinci Surgery Patient
“I felt so much better than I ever thought I would less than 24 hours after a major surgery.”
Robotic Surgery with da Vinci System Provides Patient Many Benefits
When Michelle Fowler finally decided to have a hysterectomy to relieve the symptoms and pain caused by fibroid tumors, she was understandably nervous. To add to her anxiety, she decided to have her procedure performed robotically using the da Vinci® Si Surgical System.
Michelle’s gynecologist and surgeon, Cheryl Dwyer, D.O., had tried other treatments, but the side effects included loss of bone density; at age 52, Michelle needed to preserve and build bone density. In addition, her iron count had plummeted, leaving her exhausted. “The condition had an effect on every aspect of my life,” Michelle said. “I chose not to do things because of the fatigue and pain. It affected my mood and how I treated people. In my case, surgery was the best option.”
Her husband, Mike, works as a surgical technician at MidMichigan Medical Center–Midland and had seen the procedure performed with the da Vinci system. “He actually works with Dr. Dwyer quite often, and he reassured me and told me what would happen during the surgery,” Michelle said.
Dr. Dwyer performed the robotic procedure with fellow Gynecologist and Surgeon, Lydia Watson, M.D. “They were wonderful,” said Michelle. “They were very understanding of how I felt and explained everything.”
Part of Michelle’s anxiety was dreading how she would feel after surgery. “I expected a lot of pain and discomfort, but it just wasn’t so,” she said.
“I had robotic surgery on June 7th,” Michelle said. “I had the hysterectomy at 1 p.m. and was home before noon the next day. I felt so much better than I ever thought I would less than 24 hours after a major surgery. In fact, I felt really good, with hardly any pain. There have been no complications at all.”
Michelle said her surgery involved only four tiny incisions. “There was less stress on my body and less chance of bleeding and infection,” she said. “It is amazing to me what they can do through those little incisions.”
Before her surgery, Michelle worked out three times a week. “Being active and in good shape does have a lot to do with a good recovery,” she said. While she did take time off to recuperate, Michelle was physically ready to return to work within a few days. “The whole experience was so much better than I could have ever expected.”
The da Vinci® Si Surgical System is the most technologically advanced robotic surgery system in the region. The technology enhances a surgeon’s skill so they can perform complex and delicate procedures through tiny incisions.
During a procedure, the surgeon sits at a console where they view images from inside the body and use fingertip controls to manipulate the da Vinci’s robotic arms. An eyepiece and endoscope magnify intricate procedures in high-definition. The system works by translating the surgeon’s own hand movements into precise movements of small surgical instruments at the ends of the robotic arms. The system allows the surgeon to perform intricate maneuvers that are not possible with the human hand alone.
Da Vinci is a registered trademark of Intuitive Surgical, Inc.
Currently, MidMichigan is using this technology for gynecologic surgery, such as hysterectomy, and urological procedures including prostatectomy. For more information about the da Vinci system and the procedures performed at MidMichigan, visit www.midmichigan.org/davinci.