Robotic Fistula Repair with the da Vinci Xi: Michael’s Story
Michael was scared. For months, he had been experiencing unusual and distressing symptoms when he used the bathroom. He had seen multiple doctors, had ended up in an emergency room abroad several times, had urgent scans, and had spoken to specialists – none of whom could agree on what was wrong with him. He didn’t know it, but Michael had developed a fistula – an abnormal connection between his colon and bladder that was causing pain and a lot of distress.
Back in Toronto, his family physician eventually scheduled an urgent colonoscopy with Dr. John Hagen, which would determine if Michael had cancer.
“I was nervous, my wife was nervous,” says Michael. “But Dr. Hagen told me not to worry. He had seen patients like me many times before and suspected that it was a fistula.”
After finding Michael’s fistula and ruling out colon cancer, Dr. Hagen, formerly Chief of Surgery at Humber River, referred Michael to his former colleague Dr. Quoc Huynh.
“My first impression of Dr. Huynh was that he was a lovely person,” says Michael. “He explained my fistula and got me in line right away for a cystoscopy to rule out bladder cancer, which could have been a cause.”
Dr. Huynh discovered that Michael had in fact developed two fistulas. He would need surgery, but he didn’t have cancer. He explained that using the da Vinci Surgical Robot, he would be able to perform Michael’s surgery in a much less invasive way, resulting in less pain and a shorter recovery time.
The da Vinci Surgical Robot, which is the centerpiece of the Murphy and Helen Hull Robotics Centre at Humber River Health, was recently upgraded to the newest Xi model thanks entirely to donor support. Without this upgrade, Michael’s minimally-invasive surgery would not have been possible.
“The pelvis is a very confined working space between the pelvic bones, so traditionally Michael’s surgery would have been “open” and performed laparoscopically with greater difficulty,” says Dr. Huynh. “Thanks to our donors, Michael’s case could be done with less risk.”
“Surgery day went really well – everyone I met at Humber was spectacular,” says Michael. “But my recovery was the most important part for me – As a portfolio manager, I was concerned about getting back to my work and my clients quickly.”
Michael’s surgery was on a Friday and he was home by Sunday. By Monday, Michael was amazed that he was able to start easing back into work, needing only Tylenol to manage his pain.
Over the next few months, he is looking forward to getting back into exercise, especially cycling.
“I’ve been telling everyone – If anything ever happens to you, you need to go to Humber,” says Michael. “Without the technology and expertise at Humber River Health, I would have been in a lot more pain, with a lot more scarring. My experience has been 10/10.”
The da Vinci Xi Surgical Robot is the centerpiece of the Murphy and Helen Hull Robotics Centre at Humber River Hospital. Michael’s surgery would not have been possible without the transformational generosity of our donors.
Expanding Robotic Surgery: da Vinci Xi Surgical Robot
Humber River Health is at the forefront of surgical innovation in Canada and with donor support, our Robotic Surgery Program can continue to make a difference. To learn more, please contact Caterina Magisano at email@example.com