Robotic surgery helped this mom stay close to her kids
As a working mother, Karen Coty had real concerns when her doctor told her she needed surgery.
“I had been having pains, cramping, so my OB-GYN, Dr. Katrin Arnolds, ordered an ultrasound. The results showed I would need to have a hysterectomy,” recalled Karen, a single mom who is raising 13-year-old twins and also teaches full-time in Georgetown. Karen’s uterus was enlarged, and she had pre-cancerous cells that concerned her doctor.
“It was scary. I started looking at surgery and recovery times, and I talked to Dr. Arnolds about my options. I knew I couldn’t be on the sidelines of my life for months,” she said. “I needed to get this taken care of and get back to taking care of my kids.”
Arnolds, of Beebe Women’s Healthcare – Plantations, completed fellowship training in minimally invasive gynecologic surgery at the Cleveland Clinic and is certified to operate the da Vinci Xi robotic surgical system at Beebe – the most advanced system available today.
“When Karen explained that she couldn’t take too much time off from work and from being there for her young children, I knew we could help her,” said Arnolds. “The great thing about robotic surgery for patients is that they have a shorter recovery time. The incisions made by the surgeon operating the robot are much smaller, meaning faster healing and less time in the hospital.”
When Karen went in for surgery, Arnolds was able to remove her uterus and examine other organs for possible cancers. Finding no other pre-cancerous cells, Arnolds was able to drain a cyst, but leave the ovaries intact.
“When I woke up, I felt like I had a hangover, but the team was so positive. They got me up and moving. My mom was there, and I was headed home by 1:30 that afternoon,” Karen said. “At home, I was able to rest in my own bed, wear my own pajamas, and when my mom picked my kids up from school, they were able to come home and see me – at home, doing well. A mom couldn’t ask for more than that.”
With a traditional hysterectomy, patients are often recovering for months. Even with minimally invasive techniques, recovery can last several weeks. Karen was able to take about a week off work and be with her kids throughout her recovery.
“Each patient is different, so not everyone will be right for robotic surgery. There are benefits for patients like Karen, whose main goal was to be at home with her kids, but it is a conversation patients need to have with their physicians to determine what type of surgery is best for them,” said Arnolds.
“I can’t thank everyone at Beebe enough. My well-being was their top priority,” Karen said. “I needed to get back to my children. I needed to be there for them. I also needed to get back to the classroom. That was important to me, and everyone at Beebe recognized that. That made all the difference for me.”
Learn more about Beebe’s Center for Robotic Surgery at www.beebehealthcare.org/robotic-surgery.
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