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Wendy Kuramoto's Story

Wendy KuramotoWhen Wendy Kuramoto of San Jose began suffering stomach pains, she first thought it was just indigestion. But soon the pain got so severe, she went to the Emergency Department at Regional Medical Center of San Jose, where she was diagnosed with gallstones and scheduled for surgery. More than 500-thousand people undergo surgery for gallstones each year. But Kuramoto would be one of the first in the SF Bay Area and among the first in the U.S. to have her gallbladder removed with a single incision through her belly button by a robot.

RMCSJ General Surgeon, Dr. Huy Nguyen, performed the first single incision gallbladder surgery using the da Vinci Si Robotic Surgical System on Kuramoto and 3 other patients April 5th, 2012. A camera is mounted onto one of the robot’s arms and instruments on the others and then inserted through a canula into the belly button. Seated at a console, Dr. Nguyen sees the 3D images, magnified 10-to 12 times, on a screen, and operates by remote control.

Said Mike T. Johnson, CEO of Regional, "not only will this surgical procedure be safer and less invasive, the recovery period is significantly reduced and there will be virtually no visible scar from the single incision through the umbilical."

Kuramoto went home the same day of her surgery and said she was happy her shorter recovery time would allow her to get back to her daily activities sooner. She was also pleased there would be no visible scar as a result of her surgery.

In the past, gallbladder removals have been performed either through open surgery, which requires a large opening in the abdomen, or laparoscopic surgery, which requires multiple incision sites. The gallbladder is a pear-shaped organ that sits just below the liver on the upper right side of the abdomen. It collects and stores bile — a digestive fluid produced in the liver – and its removal can relieve the pain and discomfort of gallstones. The new surgical method with the da Vinci system will lead to safer outcomes and fast recovery times.

The da Vinci system has been used for an array of other types of surgeries and was just recently FDA-approved for gallbladder removals. The system allows surgeons to operate with accurate precision, enhanced maneuverability and three-dimensional visualization.

For Wendy Kuramoto, it just means she’ll be out and about in ‘no time’ with no sign of an operation.

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