Doctors Use New One-Stitch Surgery For Common Operation


UPDATED: Wednesday November 20, 2013 6:37 PM

It's one of the most common surgeries women face, a hysterectomy.

By age 65, one out of three women will need the operation.

Now, Riverside Hospital is the first in Central Ohio to offer a version that uses only a single stitch.

A class at Gahanna gym learns a new step to a dance routine. It's part of an exercise class that Anna Kuhn loves.  

"It just makes you feel so great.  And keeps you energized," she said.

She's taken this class four to six times a week, for nearly four years. This mother of two was glad to get back to it after surgery last April.

"When I was pregnant with my daughter, I had had a blood clot in my left leg, and that is what changed everything for me," Anna said.

Blood clots can be life-threatening, and limited her birth control options. So after Anna's son was born, her doctor recommended a hysterectomy. In the past, that's often meant open surgery with two months of recovery time.

But Dr. Mini Somasundaram, Medical Director of GYN Robotics at Riverside Hospital, offered Anna the newest option which was surgery with just one stitch.  It's done through the belly button with the aid of a robot.

"It's about a two and a half centimeter incision and that's the only incision the patient has," she said.

The doctor sat at a console and manipulated controls on the DaVinci Robot that activated surgical tools.  One of them was a tiny camera. The camera displayed the operating field so the doctor could watch what she was doing through the controls.

"It allows us to see more details, because with a three-dimensional view, we can see depth the way we would if it was an open procedure," she said.

The operation takes about an hour, and often the patient is up and eating the same day.

All of this is why Somasundaram is a fan of this minimal robotic surgery, and why her patients like it, too.

"It's less pain and faster recovery,” said Somasundaram.

The doctor said patients usually recover in two weeks, not two months.

"What excites me the most is seeing my patients at two weeks and they want to do things that they've been doing before the surgery," she explained.

Anna agreed.

"I couldn't be out of commission for six to eight weeks.  So it really was the best way for me to go,” Kuhn.

And how does she feel now?

"Fantastic," she said with a wide grin.  "Fantastic."

Grant Medical Center, like Riverside, an OhioHealth hospital, also offers the procedure.

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