Third Time's a Charm
Looking at the possibility of a third abdominal surgery, David Mullins, 47, was happy to have the da Vinci® Surgical System — and an experienced medical team — available to him.
A Beaumont native, David works hard as a process operator for the United States Department of Energy and as an emergency responder. When the workday ends, David is an avid fisherman who loves spending time with his family.
Unfortunately, frequent flu-like symptoms and a series of operations would make it difficult for David to spend time with his wife, daughter and stepson. “Starting in 2011, I began having regular flu like
symptoms,” David says. “After a few years, it got so bad that I would immediately be sick if I wasn’t on antibiotics.”
David began a lengthy process of discovering what exactly was wrong with him. He had a white blood cell count twice as high as it should have been, so doctors requested more tests and even considered leukemia as a possibility. It wasn’t until David did some research on his symptoms and decided to go see Kevin Dean, M.D., general surgeon at CHRISTUS Southeast Texas St. Elizabeth.
“Immediately after hearing my symptoms, Dr. Dean knew what was wrong with me,” David says. “It was an infection caused by a previous LAP-BAND® procedure. I cried because it was great to finally have an answer.” Dr. Dean performed the surgery to remove the eroded LAP-BAND, but David wasn’t out of the woods yet.
A Better Option
Unpleasant scarring and hernias can both be the result of open surgery. To get these fixed, David visited a cosmetic surgeon — someone he felt could fix both at the same time. Soon after, his hernia recurred. The result was a bulging deformity that was worse than before. This time, David knew he had to return to Dr. Dean. “This was going to be the third abdominal surgery for David,” Dr. Dean says. “So, traditional surgical procedures were not ideal.” Dr. Dean and David agreed that the da Vinci Surgical System would be the best way to proceed.
“Rather than having to do another open surgery, which can lead to additional complications, the da Vinci allows me to operate through just a few small incisions,” Dr. Dean says. “It gives me all the control and visibility of an open surgery, with far fewer risks and a faster recovery time.” Using the precision of the da Vinci’s robotic arms, Dr. Dean could repair the hernia once and for all. “I had a very short hospital stay, there is absolutely no scarring and it was relatively pain free,” David says. “It was a walk in the park compared to my other surgeries.”