Allison Mortensen, da Vinci Surgery Patient

Allison Mortensen - Beaverton, MI

"The healing process was much faster and easier than I had expected. I’m very happy with the results."

1000th da Vinci Surgery Patient Calls Her Experience ‘Amazing'

“I went to the emergency room one night in severe pain,” said 26-year-old Allison Mortensen of Beaverton. “I thought it was my appendix.”

After a computed tomography (CT) scan indicated the source of the pain was a problem with a fallopian tube, Mortensen was referred to Sandeep Rao, M.D., who specializes in obstetrics and gynecology and has special training in use of the da Vinci® SI Surgical System.

“When Dr. Rao first suggested that I have robotic surgery, I was nervous,” Mortensen said. “Then I found out that the healing time was faster with this procedure and I would not have a huge scar. I liked that but I still didn’t know exactly what to expect.”

As Dr. Rao explained, robotic surgery extends a surgeon’s skills and enables them to perform intricate maneuvers that are not possible with the human hand alone. This allows them do complex surgeries with smaller incisions and less impact to the surrounding tissue.

The surgeon sits at a console where they view images from inside the body. They use fingertip controls to move the da Vinci’s robotic arms. The system translates the surgeon’s own hand movements into precise movements of small surgical instruments at the ends of the robotic arms. An eyepiece and endoscope magnify intricate procedures in high-definition.

During Mortensen’s procedure, the da Vinci robot allowed Dr. Rao to easily drain a fallopian tube that had filled with fluid and enlarged to almost seven centimeters. He was also able to easily remove the fallopian tube from her abdomen, as well as a cyst from the other tube.

“Dr. Rao was great,” she said. “He was very professional and informative and made sure we understood everything. In fact, I was very impressed with everyone at MyMichigan. They were very personable and made sure I was comfortable and had a good experience.

“My husband told me the procedure lasted just over an hour because it was more extensive than they originally planned,” Mortensen said. “Still, I came home the same day.” She recovered quickly and easily. “I was up and moving – slowly – the next day. I needed to be up and moving to facilitate recovery. It sounds strange, but my shoulders were sore and the more I moved my arms, the better I felt.”

Mortensen and her husband, Chad, have two 6-year-olds. Because she also has a job that entails lots of standing, walking and lifting, her care team recommended a full two weeks of recovery before returning to work.

Looking back, Mortensen called the experience amazing. “I admit I was very nervous going into it, but once it was over, the healing process was much faster and easier than I had expected. I’m very happy with the results.”

Mortensen said she would definitely encourage eligible candidates to consider a da Vinci procedure instead of a more invasive surgery simply because the healing time is so much faster. “It’s a great option and I’m happy that it’s available here.”

Da Vinci is a registered trademark of Intuitive Surgical, Inc.



Currently, MyMichigan has twelve experienced surgeons performing robotic surgery and is offering this advanced surgical technique for gynecological, general surgery, and ear, nose and throat procedures. For more information about the surgeons, the da Vinci system and the robotic procedures performed at MyMichigan, visit www.mymichigan.org/davinci.