Heart

This is What a Doctor Does When She Needs Surgery

When a routine x-ray uncovered a benign tumor in her chest, Morissa Ladinsky MD turned to her colleagues for advice. Her tumor was leaning against her aorta. She knew surgery would be a delicate procedure, and wanted to have it done in the safest manner possible.

“My colleagues pointed me to the robotic-assisted surgery program at Good Samaritan Hospital,” she says. The robot provides the surgeon a fantastic field of vision, they told her. With that knowledge, “I figured robotic-assisted surgery would not only mean improved visualization for the surgeon, but a shorter recovery time for me,” she says.

She was right! During the procedure, cardiothoracic surgeon J. Michael Smith MD was able to determine that although her tumor was resting against the aorta, it was not attached to the aorta. “By moving my body slightly, the tumor fell away from the aorta and he was easily able to remove it. That’s the kind of incredible visualization capable with the robot,” Dr. Ladinsky says enthusiastically.

Dr. Smith estimated the surgery would take three hours. But with excellent field of vision, he was able to complete the procedure in just 50 minutes. “I was grateful for the shorter amount of time under anesthesia,” Dr. Ladinsky says.

Two days later Dr. Ladinsky, 42, was home doing three loads of laundry. “I’m young, tough and stupid,” she says of her quick return to housework. “I only had three tiny incisions, so it was easy to forget I had just undergone major surgery.” When some soreness set in, she took it easy for a few days. But in less than two weeks her energy had returned, and at three weeks she was back to work half-days as a pediatrician. One week later she was back to caring for her young patients fulltime.

Two months since her surgery, Dr. Ladinsky is roller skating and jumping on the trampoline with her kids. She continues to speak enthusiastically about her experience with the da Vinci Surgical System. “Five or six years ago I would have been cut through the ribs. It’s incredible what surgeons can do today when teamed with a robot!”

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Last Updated: March 09, 2015