When doctors discovered pre-cancerous cells in her uterus late last year, there were plenty of reasons for Janece Martin to be concerned.
As a 60-year-old woman, how quickly could she recover from the required hysterectomy?
How much pain would she feel?
But most of all, she worried that doctors might discover a hidden cancer while removing her uterus.
“I was very concerned. Even though we had done a biopsy, my doctor wasn’t totally convinced that when they did surgery they wouldn’t find cancer,” said Martin, of Columbia.
Martin’s hysterectomy was scheduled for April 4 at Boone Hospital Center. As the date approached, Martin’s primary gynecologist decided her case was a good fit for minimally invasive surgery using Boone Hospital’s da Vinci robot and referred her to Jennifer Roelands, MD.
“When possible, I advocate for robotic surgery as recovery is faster, patients require less pain medication and can return to work quicker,” said Dr. Roelands, a board certified gynecologist. “The da Vinci allows me to do a complicated hysterectomy, like Ms. Martin’s, in a less invasive way so she can heal better.”
Martin found this to be true. After waking up following her surgery, she learned doctors had discovered no cancer, which was a great relief.
She was also amazed that she felt no pain.
“It didn’t hurt, and I thought, well, that’s odd,” she said. “That was nowhere near what I expected.”
Just hours after the surgery, she was up and walking pain-free. She was released from the hospital the next morning without any pain medication.
“Not one pain pill did I take,” she said. “It was just totally amazing.”
The recovery was so easy Martin later teased her primary gynecologist, saying, “I don’t think you all did surgery.” He replied, “Oh yes we did; I watched the whole thing.”
Before the surgery, Martin’s husband had taken off 10 days from work to help care for her throughout her recovery. But the tables turned during her quick recovery when he strained his back a few days after her surgery.
“I actually drove him to the ER and had to watch over him,” she said, with a laugh.
Martin praised Dr. Roelands for the surgical skill and technological expertise she brings to mid-Missouri.
“She is a tremendous asset to Boone Hospital and the community,” she said.
Minimally Invasive Option
Boone Hospital has offered da Vinci surgical procedures since 2008.
It’s a robotic system where a surgeon uses hand and foot controls to maneuver tiny surgical instruments with minute precision.
A special camera provides the surgeon with clear 3D footage direct from the surgery site.
The system allows trained physicians to perform surgeries with slender robotic arms rather than their own hands, making it possible to have much smaller surgical openings.
Research shows that compared to traditional surgery, robotic procedures are less painful, take less time to complete, leave much smaller scars and allow patients to leave the hospital sooner and recover faster.