Sherri Enlow has had more than her share of surgeries in her life, but the procedure she performed at Alton Memorial Hospital in September was the smoothest yet.
Wood River, 62-year-old Enlow underwent a partial nephrectomy for renal cell carcinoma last fall. Dr. Arjun Sivaraman performed the procedure using the da Vinci X robotic surgical system started by AMH in January 2020.
“It was wonderful,” said Enlow, whose only limitation for a few days after surgery was not to lift anything heavy than a gallon of milk. “It was a little strange at first because Dr. Sivaraman was walking across the room when the operation was about to begin. They pointed to this robot that would do the job. But after the operation there was much less pain than in previous operations. I was home the next day and have felt great ever since. “
Enlow said she had an MRI after experiencing back pain when the spot was discovered on her kidney in August. Then it was just a matter of planning the operation with Dr. Sivaraman, a urologist with the Doctors at Washington University in Illinois, Inc.
“Sherri was very grateful that we performed the operation at AMH instead of having to travel to St. Louis,” said Sivaraman. “It was a centrally located kidney mass very close to the renal vein. It was a challenging operation to avoid venous injury and to prevent removal of the entire kidney. But we could only remove the tumor and preserve the kidney. The final pathology was renal cell cancer with negative margins. “
Enlow was delighted that she won’t have to return for a follow up until April.
“It was a wonderful experience with Dr. Sivaraman,” she said. “I would recommend (robotic surgery) to anyone who can do it that way.”
For the patient, the main benefits of robotic surgery are a reduction in post-operative pain, less use of potentially addictive anesthetics, less bleeding, and faster recovery time. The surgeon sits at a console in the operating room with a patient cart and video tower, where the rest of the surgical team can see what the surgeon is doing and helping.
“The da Vinci surgical system means that access to minimally invasive procedures will be improved,” says Dr. Christopher Aldridge of Alton Surgery, a general surgeon who has also performed many robotic procedures at AMH. “The technology enables operations that previously required a large incision with smaller ports, similar to traditional laparoscopy. The robot translates the surgeon’s movements through a variety of wrist instruments with vastly improved binocular visualization. “
For more information, contact Alton Surgery at (618) 462-3191 or Washington University Physicians of Illinois Inc. urologists at (618) 463-7174.