Moving Forward With No More Pain
On Feb. 15, 2012, Dr. Matt Morgan, a general surgeon at Pella Regional Health Center, performed the first single-incision gallbladder removal in Iowa using Pella Regional’s state-of-the-art da Vinci surgical robot.
Two weeks later, patient Candy Dittmer, a 39-year veteran of Pella Corporation, is returning to work and relieved to be on the healing side of surgery.
“I’m so glad to be back to living and working,” said Candy. “I’m moving forward with my life and not hanging onto that pain! When it warms up, I’ll be swimming with my grandkids and enjoying walks and activities.”
Gallbladder removal is a very common procedure for general surgeons. What makes Candy’s procedure uncommon is the latest technology used in surgery. Pella Regional added a surgical robotic system in 2010. New instrumentation added in February to this robotic system allowed Dr. Morgan to operate using only a single, very small incision. Dr. Morgan is the first surgeon in Iowa to be trained in this technique and the technology is only available at Pella Regional.
“I view robotic surgery techniques as the best opportunity to get patients feeling better and back to work more quickly,” said Dr. Morgan.
Candy’s surgery began at 11:30 a.m. on Feb. 15. Less than 45 minutes later, she was in a recovery room and by 4:30 p.m. that afternoon she was headed home.
“There was some tenderness, and I don’t do well with anesthesia, but even on the first day, I’m getting up and moving around,” said Candy. “Dr. Morgan said I would recover fast, but I stopped taking my pain pills the next day!”
Comparing her experience to her sister’s, Candy is amazed. Her sister’s gallbladder was removed pre-robotic surgery. With a several-inch-long incision, Carma Ruthven spent several days in the hospital and was off work for at least six weeks.
“There’s no comparison,” said Carma. “My outcome was altogether different. Her recovery period is awesome compared to mine!”
Robotic surgery techniques are growing in popularity because of the precision, dexterity and control it provides to surgeons. This newest procedure for robotic surgeries will undoubtedly become more common. But right now, Dr. Morgan is one of fewer than 20 surgeons in the country trained in the procedure.
“Pella Regional has really moved forward,” said Candy. “The hospital is open to our needs. Doctors don’t always have to send us here and there for treatment. This surgery, using Star Trek technology, can be done right here in Pella.”
Also important to Candy was the care and concern everyone at Pella Regional showed for her throughout the process.
“Melinda, my nurse, took time to pray with me before surgery,” said Candy. “And all of the staff were very supportive. I highly recommend Dr. Morgan and Pella Regional Health Center. We can see with my surgery how great Pella Regional is!”
Learn more about da Vinci robotic gallbladder surgery at Pella Regional.