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Sharp Health News

Getting back to family life

June 14, 2021

Sarah, Mishka, Livley and Chris Kelly, enjoyed a vacation together just 2 months after Chris’ hernia repair surgery at Sharp Coronado Hospital.

Many of us have been there before: We’re so focused on getting the house ready for an event, such as a child’s birthday party, the last thing we’re thinking about is our health. After all, there are rooms to be cleaned, decorations to be put up, and food to be set on the table before guests arrive.

That’s why Chris Kelly paid little attention to the slight pain he felt in his groin while preparing for his youngest daughter’s second birthday party last September.

“I was getting the house and yard ready to have guests over,” says Chris, a 44-year-old former New Yorker. “I was making pizza with my kids and their cousins, and getting ready for the sleepover for my daughter’s birthday.”

But Chris says that a pain in his groin grew increasingly worse throughout the day. Later that night, he made his first of 3 trips to the emergency room that weekend.

ER doctors at Sharp Memorial Hospital told Chris that he had an inguinal hernia, which occurs when tissue inside the abdomen, such as fat or part of the intestine, protrudes through a weak spot in the abdominal wall muscles of the groin. Chris also had a herniated disc in his back and felt intense pain in his right leg.

After determining that there was no need for emergency surgery, the ER care team allowed Chris to go home, and encouraged him to try to enjoy his weekend and to follow up with a hernia surgeon in the near future.

The path to being pain-free and back to enjoying family time
Just a few weeks later, Dr. David Yu Greenblatt, a general surgeon affiliated with Sharp Coronado Hospital, performed Chris’ minimally invasive inguinal hernia repair using the da Vinci robotic surgical system.

This state-of-the-art technology allows surgeons to use a 3D camera and special instruments that are “wristed” like human hands to perform precise and delicate surgery through small incisions. It is used for procedures including hernia repair, gallbladder removal, and a wide range of other surgical procedures in the chest, abdomen and pelvis.

“Open inguinal hernia repair, with one longer incision in the groin, is a safe operation with excellent results,” explains Dr. Greenblatt. “However, with the da Vinci robot, we can repair hernias and do other complex operations through incisions smaller than 1 inch. This results in less post-operative pain and faster recovery, with an earlier return to work and enjoyable activities with family and friends. For this reason, I recommended robotic hernia repair surgery to Chris.”

While Dr. Greenblatt was certain the robotic-assisted operation would fix the hernia, he could not guarantee that Chris would be totally pain-free because of his herniated disc issue. However, Chris says that after his outpatient surgery at Sharp Coronado Hospital, he was pleasantly surprised to feel a huge difference by the very next day.

“I felt better almost immediately,” he says. “Even the pain in my leg was gone.”

Now, 7 months later, Chris says he’s feeling nearly back to normal. He’s been having fun with his children and is overseeing the remodel of the family’s new condominium in Coronado.

“I can play with my girls and throw them up in the air again,” he says.

Playtime and together time are getting this dad back to feeling great again, just in time for the family’s first Coronado summer. He says he has Dr. Greenblatt, the remarkable da Vinci robotic surgical system, and his care team at Sharp Coronado Hospital to thank.

Learn more about the advancements in robotic-assisted surgery at Sharp Coronado Hospital.

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