Robot-assisted hernia surgery for a patient

The Wellington Hospital - da Vinci Xi robot

As a leading Consultant General Surgeon trained in robotic surgical techniques, Mr Charles Evans works within both the NHS and HCA Healthcare UK. He has a wide practice, and together with HCA UK, Mr Evans helped treat a patient with a large hernia.

The patient first recalls "I didn't have any other symptoms, apart from having a bulge in my lower abdomen when I stood up. There was no pain associated with it." She was immediately concerned as laying down, the patient couldn’t see anything unusual. "I didn't know what it could be. I've had three children, so I know what shape my lower abdomen looks like, before and after pregnancy. There was something different, indicating a tear in the skin that keeps 'everything' inside."

The patient was first diagnosed with a large hernia by the NHS between at the end of 2021, and recalls, "Once I had an ultrasound to confirm my diagnosis, there was less of a concern around what it was." The patient’s hernia still required an operation, but she knew it wasn't life threatening. But at the time, there was a two-to-three year wait list on the NHS for operations due to the pandemic.

In the summer of 2022, the patient decided to use her work health insurance to solve the condition. "I wasn't referred to Mr Evans for a private consultation, but I proposed this to speed up the process in getting back to normal. As I was waiting to reschedule my surgery, my insurer suggested I could set up a private meeting with Mr Evans via his secretary." recalls the patient.

Initial consultatation

The secretary arranged a prompt private consultation with Mr Evans. To double check the diagnosis and develop a plan for surgery, Mr Evans performed a CT scan. The scan confirmed the hernia and he understood exactly how to perform the surgery. "Mr Evans could see different sized parts that were outside of their usual location," says the patient.

Mr Evans preferred to do use the da Vinci Surgical System, and after a discussion of the technique and the minimal risks involved, the patient agreed. There were two consultations with Mr Evans scheduled the surgery date for September 2022.

"Mr Evans is very good. That's his craft." "He assured me everything is going to be OK and talked to me about a couple of options around the surgery, I've had three Caesarean sections, so he didn't want me to have another open surgery procedure." Benefits of robotic surgery include a smaller incision and less pain than traditional surgery.

"At first, agreeing the date was tricky because it depends on my availability, Mr Evans availability and the hospital availability. They accommodated my preferences for dates." says the patient. It was also discussed to travel to London in September 2022 and have the procedure at The Wellington Hospital, as Mr Evans privately operates there.

The surgical experience

The robotic surgery repaired the hernia with mesh. "I've only had four punctures in the skin, as I didn't have to deal with both the recovery of open surgery as well as recovering internally," recalls the patient.

The surgery was performed on a Monday morning and the patient left the hospital on the Wednesday morning, a total of two days for precautionary measures.

"My husband had to look after my children while I was away. There was a small window when he could pick me up because I couldn't drive. Due to logistics and safekeeping, I stayed at The Wellington Hospital for two days. It meant that I could stay in a good place."

The patient went home and adjusted back into family life. "It took about a week to almost go back to normal because of the pain associated with the corrective surgery. I wasn't back to doing normal duties at home. No heavy lifting for a period of time, no driving."

Recovering from robotic surgery

Although, as there was not an open wound, the hernia started to repair immediately. The patient did not suffer any complications and was gradually able to do more and more. "It was about four to six weeks of recovery," she says. Overall, the patient was pleased with all aspects of the operation. Although there were prior concerns about being in a hospital for an operation, she was put at ease by the speed and process to having the successful surgery, saying, "I was most nervous as I haven't been into hospital before for a procedure, apart from when I had my children. But the hernia operation was quickly arranged. You don't want to keep waiting for these types of procedures if you have a diagnosis. You want to recover and be back to normal as soon as possible."

The patient states, "Everything was great, from the staff and the way they looked after me, the administration of medicine, the facilities, the food. I have no complaints. I reviewed my experience as five stars."

This content is intended for general information only and does not replace the need for personal advice from a qualified health professional.
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