Robots help central Ohio doctor save lives

Local News

COLUMBUS (WCMH) — Joysticks, a giant screen, and a headset to talk to people half a world away. You might think it is a video game, but it is not.​

This is a life-saving surgery. When you watch the video, be warned, you will be watching a surgery that utilizes a robot. I learned about this procedure because of a medical condition I have. You can learn more about that later in the article.

Dr. Ronney Abaza slices out a golf ball-sized kidney tumor on a patient who is across the room. He does this while talking to a group of surgeons who are following his every move on a giant screen in Orlando, Florida. The single-port robot at Dublin Methodist Hospital is one of two in Ohio. The other one is at the Cleveland Clinic. The technology is giving a new meaning to “cutting edge.” Doctors make a single incision less than two inches in length.

“Robotic surgery took us from open surgery to minimally invasive surgery,” said Dr. Abaza. “This robot is taking us to even more minimally invasive surgery because now we can eliminate three or four other incisions and do it just through one opening and all four robotic arms go through that one incision.”​

Dr. Abaza is one of the first five doctors in the world to perform more than five thousand robotic surgeries.​

“When I was in training the majority of it was done through an open incision, and so we saw how much pain the patients had, how long they stayed in the hospital, how much narcotics they were taking to keep them comfortable. All of these things have changed. “​

The patient being worked on right now will go home within hours of a massive cancerous tumor being removed. The doctors standing near the patient are studying under Dr. Abaza. That is why he routinely broadcasts surgeries to other states and countries.​

“These live broadcast surgeries that we do are to rooms full of surgeons who are learning how to do these operations from us,” Dr. Abaza explained. “We have visiting surgeons who come and visit with us once a month here, to watch us do surgery here on our home turf.”​

On a personal note, I will be on his table about a week after this story is published. I recently learned I have stage-four kidney nephrosis.

“The difference is that in your case, of course, there’s no tumor thank god. What we’re doing is we’re doing a reconstruction of the drainage system of the kidney,” Dr. Abaza explained about my surgery. “There’s a blockage that’s preventing the kidney from draining properly, so what we’re doing is we’re cutting out the area of the blockage and then sewing the two ends back together. So it’s really plumbing.”

I have no symptoms and did not know anything was wrong. I wanted to be a living kidney donor for my cousin, who is on dialysis, and during the testing to be a donor led to the unexpected discovery that my own kidney is blocked and losing function.

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