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Ruth Santos – da Vinci Hysterectomy for Ovarian Cancer Success Story

da Vinci® Hysterectomy Minimally Invasive Surgery Patient Success Story at Methodist Dallas

For Ruth Santos, RN, a nurse at Methodist Dallas Medical Center, minimally invasive surgery with the da Vinci Surgical System was an outstanding choice for a quick recovery and return to her full life.

da Vinci offers small incisions, big benefits

da Vinci® Hysterectomy Minimally Invasive Surgery Patient Success Story at Methodist Dallas Following a total laparoscopic hysterectomy
with the da Vinci surgical system at Methodist
Dallas, Ruth Santos returned quickly to the
work she loves - helping others.

When chronic pain and abnormal bleeding wouldn't go away, Ruth Santos, RN, found the help she needed from her own doctor with an innovative physician-guided robotic procedure - minimally invasive surgery using the da Vinci Surgical System. The young mother and professional leads an active life with her husband and two children in their hometown of Waxahachie. Although she's been a nurse at Methodist Dallas Medical Center for 12 years, it didn't take professional medical expertise to know something was wrong.

"I was in a lot of pain with more bleeding than normal for a few months," she explains. "It didn't let up." Late last year she sought an explanation for her symptoms from her OB/GYN, Patricia LaRue, MD, a physician with Kessler Women's Healthcare who also serves as an independently practicing physician on the medical staff at Methodist Health System.

A regular annual exam and additional testing revealed a suspicious growth on one ovary. "With ovarian cancer, it's best not to wait," Santos says. "I knew we had that in my family but wasn't well acquainted with it, although I then learned that one of my grandmothers had died from ovarian cancer."

A tough decision made easier

Dr. LaRue recommended a minimally invasive total laparoscopic hysterectomy (TLH), and Santos agreed. Because she has type 2 diabetes, the smaller incisions using the da Vinci system were even more of a benefit.

"I was fine with that and had all faith and trust in Dr. LaRue making the very best choice for me, but it was good to be totally included in weighing the options," Santos says. "She was very professional yet caring and considerate, listening to everything I had to say and always willing to answer all of my questions."

Although TLH is not available in many parts of the country, for Santos it was as close as her workplace. TLH allows the physician to insert a scope and tools through several small incisions in the abdomen. The affected organs are also removed through one of those incisions. This procedure offers a quicker recovery and involves a very brief hospital stay - just overnight for Santos.

Ruth Santos – da Vinci HysterectomyA quick recovery and return to activity following da Vinci surgery

She had late-morning surgery on Dec. 21, spent the night to be sure all went well, and went home the next day. With Christmas just around the corner, she wanted to join in the holiday fun with her family.

"I was able to get right into our Christmas activities and glad to be part of it all," she says with a smile. "My husband was surprised by how fast I was up and around. Lifting was no problem after I healed. I wanted to be back at work and in the middle of things, and I was able to come back in four weeks."

Heartfelt recommendation

With the pain gone and former health problems under control, Santos says she is happy to recommend minimally invasive da Vinci surgery.

She's also quick to advise others of a couple of personal beliefs.

"All women should have a yearly exam and Pap smear to detect the presence of any cancer cells, even if they've had a hysterectomy," she cautions. "I think it's very important to remember tha