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Ashley: Two of my aunts had fibroids and they just took out their uterus. So they don’t have any children.
Dr. Craig Saffer, OBGYN: Ashley has very large fibroids. It's not a cancer. So it's just an abnormal growth that just keeps on growing. If Ashley one day wants to get pregnant the only real option is removing the fibroids but not removing the uterus.
Nurse: You’ll get prepped and ready to go to surgery.
Dr. Saffer: She’s 20 and it's very unusual to see fibroids this big, early on in life.
Louella: I’m Louella. I’m Ashley’s mom.
Nurse: Her mom? OK.
Ashley: I’m Alexis, her sister.
Nurse: OK, very good.
Dr. Saffer: This is a da Vinci SI System. The first component is the arms of the robot maneuver very similarly to a human hand with perfect wrist movements. The second component is the actual surgical console. This manipulates the instruments on the robotic arms. When I put my head where the headpiece is, I’m immersed in a 3D field, of fantastic resolution. Fibroids can start to twist on themselves. And that can cause excruciating pain.
Ashley: It feels like something is like eating me from the inside out. My stomach rises up and it stiffens. I’m going to kill you….
Dr. Saffer: There are ways of removing fibroids, the conventional way is where you make a large incision and take them out. How you doing?
Nurse: Hello. How are you…
Dr. Saffer: With Ashley’s surgery there’s no way we could do this minimally invasively if it wasn’t for the robotic system. I’m going to go through a couple of things, as to what’s going to happen this morning. We’ll make little incisions in your tummy, and if we can safely take the fibroids out robotically, then that’s what we’ll do.
Ashley: Mm-hmm. OK.
Male: I’ll kind of hold your hand while things are happening.
Colleen: What seems very routine to us on a day-to-day basis is not routine to our patients. They’re in a world that’s unfamiliar to them.
Nurse: Just kind of nervous?
Nurse: That’s alright.
Colleen: We understand their fear. We’re here to alleviate those fears.
Nurse: Even nurses get nervous. I had surgery a couple months ago, they kept saying are you nervous? No, no, no, no, no, no. But when it got right down to the point it was yes, I was nervous.
Colleen: All of us just as human beings want to know what to expect.
Nurse: Hugs and smooches and see you later. You’re in great hands.
Dr. Saffer: It's the only robotic system that’s dedicated to women’s surgery in San Diego County.
Nurse: Did you meet Sophia the robot?
Dr. Saffer: She’ll be out of the hospital the next day. Recovery instead of being six weeks, tends to be 10 days. We attach the robotic arms to the patient. And then I’m right next to her, at the console during the surgery.
Dr. Saffer: The last thing that you need to do is to get that fibroid tissue out of the abdomen. And we use something called a morcelator. It is sucking the fibroid out. You take it out through a small incision in the abdomen. And close up the middle incisions and we’re done. The biggest hole is this one, and it's about a centimeter. How you doing? Everything went very, very well.
Dr. Saffer: The good news is we did it all robotically, as we planned. She has a beautiful looking, normal-sized uterus, at the end of the procedure. And that should heal very, very nicely.
Colleen: Everything we do makes an impact. And we have to remember that day. Remember what we said to them. They remember the kindness, they remember the experience.
Ashley: I do want kids, I just want one.
Colleen: When you take care of a patient, you’re taking care of their family, and their hopes and their dreams and their future.
Ashley: What you doing?