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Sara's Story: Robotic Assisted Relief

After Years of Pain, Sara Spears Feels Like Herself Again.

Robotic Assisted Relief In ContentSara Spears says robotic assisted surgery gave her children their mom back.

Sara, a Troy resident, battled what doctors thought were stomach-related issues for several years, seeing many specialists and undergoing a half dozen surgeries. Still, the problems persisted, leaving her at times unable to eat, travel, or participate in the activities of her son and daughter as they grew into their teens.

“I got to the point where I said, ‘Is this in my head? What is wrong?’” says Sara, member relations officer for a credit union and mother of Audrey, 18, and Andrew, 16.

In mid-2017, her family doctor suggested she visit her gynecologist, Larry Holland, DO, who had performed a partial hysterectomy for her in 2006, to check her ovaries. Dr. Holland said he thought endometriosis and scarring were part of the problem, along with pelvic inflammatory disease, Sara says. “Everything was constricting my pelvis, causing all these problems.”

Improved Capabilities, Better Outcomes

Dr. Holland suggested a robotic assisted salpingooophorectomy to remove endometriosis, a painful disorder where tissue that normally lines the inside of the uterus grows on the outside, on Sara’s bladder and pelvic sidewalls. He also removed her ovaries, as well as extensive scar tissue from her bowel and pelvis.

“He talked to me about this robotic surgery. Dr. Holland has been performing robotic surgery since 2009, and he thought this was would be the best way to go,” says Sara. She agreed to the surgery at Upper Valley Medical Center after hearing the robot would give the surgeon more access to work in hardto-reach areas. A potentially shorter recovery period also was a plus.

“Sara had multiple surgeries in the past and her symptoms never seemed to improve. I believe the new da Vinci Xi® robot allowed me to find areas that were just not present or seen in her prior surgeries,” Dr. Holland says. “I could extend the arms and completely rotate to work in the pelvic region, as well as her upper abdomen. I would not have been able to perform the surgery with the old Si robot.”

The da Vinci Xi® Surgical System, an upgrade to previous robotic surgery capabilities, is available at all Premier Health hospitals.

Sara is glad she gave the robotic surgery a chance. “I have not been able to live like I live now in years,” she says. “My kids can tell you as well, they have their mom back. There were times I would cry in pain and not be able to do things. I can feel like me again.”

Robotic Surgery Advantages

Robotic Assisted Relief In Content 2Dr. Holland says Sara’s procedure could have been performed with an open or laparoscopic surgery technique. The recovery, however, would have been much different.

“In an open case she would have had to stay in the hospital one to three days whereas she was able to go home the same day. She would not have been back to normal function as quickly,” he says. “The need for pain medication required to treat Sara would have been greater.”

The advantages of robotic surgery for the patient can include less pain, less blood loss, less scarring, shorter recovery, faster return to normal activity and less risk of infection, says Dr. Holland. Among the advantages for surgeons are greater surgical precision, increased range of motion, improved dexterity, enhanced visualization, improved access, and better ergonomics.

Content Updated: November 30, 2018

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These Upper Valley Medical Center locations offer Surgery Services.
Outpatient Surgery at Hyatt Center
450 N. Hyatt St. Suite 308 Tipp City, OH  45371
Surgery at Upper Valley Medical Center
3130 N. County Rd. 25A Troy, OH  45373
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