The term “gall bladder surgery” often evokes images of abdominal scars and painful recoveries. Thanks to new technology at Columbia St. Mary’s Hospital Ozaukee, though, gall bladder surgery can be virtually painless and scar-free.* This was certainly the case for LaVonne Langlieb.
LaVonne was an active, 35-year-old working mom when she started to experience severe abdominal pains. A visit to her primary care doctor led to a visit with a GI specialist. It was determined that LaVonne’s gall bladder was the culprit behind her pain, and she scheduled an appointment with Columbia St. Mary’s (CSM) surgeon Joseph Regan, MD.
Dr. Regan recommended cholecystectomy, or removal of the gall bladder. He wanted to try a new procedure on LaVonne, though – single-incision gall bladder removal using the new da Vinci Robotic Surgical System at the Columbia St. Mary’s Ozaukee Hospital. “I was completely comfortable with the opportunity to have the new da Vinci system perform my gall bladder surgery,” said LaVonne. “Because I am a healthcare architect, I was very familiar with the da Vinci and knew all of the advantages that come along with this kind of surgery.”
What are these advantages?
First, robotic surgery uses very small incisions, reducing surgical pain, trauma, recovery time, and scarring. With single-incision gall bladder surgery, one 2.5 centimeter incision is made in the navel, meaning the procedure is practically scar-free.* Columbia St. Mary’s Hospital Ozaukee was the first healthcare system to perform single-incision cholecystectomy in Ozaukee County.
“In 2007 Columbia St. Mary’s was the first hospital in Milwaukee to utilize the da Vince S Robotic Surgical System and now we’re continuing that pioneering spirit by bringing single incision robotic surgery to Ozaukee County, “ said Dr. Regan.
Also, the da Vinci offers advantages for the surgeon. Three-Dimensional, high definition viewing means the surgeon can see details of the patient’s body not possible in other types of surgery. The delicate instruments of the da Vinci allow the surgeon to make subtle, precise movements also not possible in other types of surgery. These advantages to the physician most often mean better outcomes for the patient.*
The day of her surgery, LaVonne was impressed by the friendliness of the staff and the care they gave to her. “Dr. Regan sat down with me and walked me through all of the steps of the operation, as well as what to expect during my recovery,” she said.
What LaVonne didn’t expect was to be able to go home the same day as her surgery. “I felt good!” said LaVonne. “I was able to walk around without assistance a few hours after my surgery and was glad I was able to go home and recuperate in my own bed.”
LaVonne’s recovery continued to go smoothly. She was back to work in six days and feeling back to her normal self in only ten days. She says she would definitely recommend single-incision gall bladder removal. “I have had other surgeries in the abdominal region and the recovery time was at least six weeks. With the new da Vinci system, I was on my feet that same day and back to normal in a fraction of the time that it would have taken with the traditional procedure.”
Today LaVonne is not only back to work, she is back to spending time with her family, pain-free.
*As with all surgery, each operation is patient and procedure-specific. Results cannot be guaranteed.