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Patient Finds Healing in Very Capable Robotic Hands at Memorial

Overcome by abdominal pain, Robert was taken by ambulance to Memorial Regional Hospital. Diagnostic tests revealed not only acute appendicitis, but also showed a large tumor on his kidney. The doctors told him he had kidney cancer.

"We had just lost my father-in-law to kidney cancer, so it was a terrifying reality for us," said Robert. "We have five children and 15 grandchildren. Our family couldn't bear to go through this again."

Following emergency surgery to remove his appendix, Robert was referred to Antonio Reyes, MD, a urological surgeon on the medical staff at the Robotic Institute of South Florida at Memorial Hospital Pembroke for the removal of the tumor and affected kidney.

"As painful as it was, the appendicitis was actually a blessing," says Robert. "The doctors found the tumor while it was small and operable. Fortunately, the Robotic Institute of South Florida at Memorial Hospital Pembroke had the advanced technology I needed combined with a caring, compassionate team of doctors and nurses. I was in excellent hands."
Robert would need a nephrectomy, a surgical procedure that removes cancers in the kidney and when necessary, the kidneys themselves. Traditional kidney surgery typically involves a painful 6- to 8-inch "V" incision and a long recovery period afterward. With minimally invasive robotics, kidney surgery requires only a few small incisions and a much shorter recovery time.

Robotic Benefits Make Good Sense

"The surgeons explained the many benefits of using robotic surgery and it just makes perfect sense," says Robert. "Smaller incisions, less scars, fewer risks of complications and quicker recovery – the benefits of robotic surgery are safe and amazing."

Dr. Reyes and his surgical team performed a robotic-assisted laparoscopic radical nephrectomy.

"With traditional surgery, recovery could take up to four months," says Dr. Reyes. "Using this new technology, we are able to improve that time. Most patients recover within two weeks. This is a significant benefit to patient care."

Memorial Hospital Pembroke uses robotic equipment called the da Vinci® Surgical System. With this technology, doctors control a number of robot "arms" – including tiny cameras – to perform surgery. The robot arms bend in all directions, offering increased dexterity in confined body cavities.

"The doctors were able to remove the tumor and kidney using the robotic system," says Robert. "Fortunately, the cancer did not spread. I was pain-free and home just four days after surgery."

Following the return of his strength and energy, Robert continues to receive repeat cat scans and comprehensive follow-up care every three months at the Memorial Cancer Institute.

"It's amazing how physicians are using technology to help save lives," said Robert. "Robotic surgery worked for me. I'm now cancer-free and back to work repairing screen enclosures and enjoying traveling and time with family."


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