Hernia Repair using the da Vinci Surgical Robot: Gordon’s Story

January 30, 2019

The da Vinci Surgical Robot enables the surgeons to use a minimally invasive approach to complex abdominal wall procedures.

Last year, Humber River Hospital surgeons Dr. Steven MacLellan and Dr. Jensen Tan performed Canada’s first Ventral Hernia Repair and Abdominal Wall Reconstruction using the da Vinci Surgical Robot. Since then, their approach has helped patients needing ventral hernia repairs get their lives back more quickly, with less pain.

After two surgeries to treat his colorectal cancer at another Toronto hospital, Gordon developed a hernia at his incision site. His doctors referred him to Dr. MacLellan.

“I was very impressed with Dr. MacLellan’s professionalism,” remembers Gordon. “When I was with him, I felt like I had his full attention. He left no questions unanswered.”

Gordon’s surgery was performed by Dr. MacLellan and Dr. Jensen Tan. While he was in surgery, his wife Eve was comforted by the text updates she received directly to her phone through STERIS RealView.

“The updates were really great,” says Eve. “I knew where he was, when he went into surgery, and when he got out.”

“I was very impressed with Dr. MacLellan’s professionalism,” remembers Gordon. “When I was with him, I felt like I had his full attention.”

Using the da Vinci Surgical Robot, Dr. MacLellan and Dr. Tan are able to perform complex abdominal wall procedures, like the one Gordon needed. The robot enables the surgeons to use a minimally invasive approach, which decreases the risk of wound complications, results in less pain for the patient, and shortens length of stay in the Hospital.

Gordon was kept overnight after his surgery in a single inpatient room. With the exception of some discomfort when trying to sit up, he was surprised to find that he experienced much less pain than he had anticipated.

“My room blew us away,” he remembers. “It was large and comfortable, and Eve even stayed over on the chair that pulls out into a bed.”

The next morning, Gordon and Eve were in their car on the way back to their home in Orillia by 11am. They stopped for lunch, and were delighted that Gordon felt well enough to spend some of the afternoon at a neighbour’s birthday party.

Less than two weeks after his surgery, Gordon’s main water line started leaking and he was out in the lake repairing it. He thought of a friend of his, who had spent two weeks in the hospital after having the conventional alternative to the same surgery (not performed with the robot), and marveled at his own recovery.

“Since being diagnosed with colorectal cancer, I’ve had 19 doctors,” says Gordon. “Dr. MacLellan really stands out. If I had to give him a rating out of 10, I’d give him a 12.”

“It’s a really wonderful hospital,” adds Eve. “If we ever need healthcare again, we would request to come back here.”

The da Vinci Surgical Robot is the centerpiece of the Murphy and Helen Hull Robotics Centre at Humber River Hospital.  The Centre was established thanks to a transformational donation from the late Murphy and Helen Hull.