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Sharp’s first da Vinci 5 robotic surgery

By The Health News Team | June 3, 2024
Ana Mendoza of San Diego

Ana Mendoza was the first patient to undergo robotic surgery at Sharp Memorial Hospital using the da Vinci 5 robot.

Ana Mendoza struggled with diverticulitis flare-ups until she had surgery at Sharp Memorial Hospital, during which her surgical team used the much-anticipated da Vinci 5 robot. Ana's journey from pain to recovery marks a significant leap in surgical technology, offering a glimpse into the future of medical interventions.

Diverticulitis, an inflammation of the colon, is becoming more common in Western diets that are high in fat and low in fiber. Ana, age 50 and a mother, experienced frequent and painful emergency room visits in the year leading up to her surgery. She witnessed the debilitating effects of her condition on her family.

"I had another flare-up during New Year's, and my doctor advised considering surgery," Ana recalls. "I didn't want to be in constant pain and unable to eat. I wanted to enjoy my life and food."

From pain to recovery

Meeting with Dr. Pamela Lee, chair of the Department of Surgery at Sharp Memorial Hospital, opened new possibilities for Ana. Initially, surgery was planned for the summer. However, the early delivery of the da Vinci 5 robot meant Ana could have the procedure sooner.

The surgery, which involved removing a diseased segment of Ana's colon, was minimally invasive, thanks to the precision of the da Vinci robot. "My cuts are small, and they are healing great," Ana reports, now on the fast track to resuming her full life.

Dr. Lee explained that the surgery demonstrated the technical advancements in robotic surgery and emphasized Sharp’s dedication to providing cutting-edge care.

"Ana was the first patient in San Diego County to undergo a procedure using the da Vinci 5 robot following its FDA approval," Dr. Lee says. "The enhancements made to the system allow for greater surgeon autonomy in the operating room and improved visualization. We are proud and excited to be the first to introduce this new technology."

The da Vinci 5: State-of-the-art technology

The da Vinci 5 robot is a significant advancement from its predecessor, the Xi system. It includes state-of-the-art features, such as instruments with haptic feedback, which enhance the surgeon's control and sensitivity.

Dr. Lee says the collaborative effort of the hospital staff made this pioneering procedure a success. "This surgery was more efficient as a result," she says.

Ana's story is not just about overcoming a physical ailment, Dr. Lee says. It's about the progressive steps medicine takes toward less invasive, more effective treatments.

Her experience underscores the importance of innovative medical technologies and the difference they make in patients' lives. "It is a privilege to provide cutting-edge surgery to our fellow San Diegans," says Dr. Lee.

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