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Trina Henry-Patrick – Hiatal Hernia da Vinci Robotic Surgery Success Story

Beating the burn – hiatal hernia da Vinci robotic surgery patient success story

After da Vinci robotic surgery at Methodist Mansfield repaired her hiatal hernia, Trina Henry-Patrick can enjoy her favorite foods and drinks again – especially coffee!

Trina Henry-Patrick expected life changes when her son Kenneth Junior (KJ, for short) arrived Jan. 24, 2011. What she didn’t anticipate was severe chest pain after meals.

“It was so bad, I wanted to lie on the floor and curl up in a ball,” she says. In fact, there were days she did just that. “My husband, Kenneth, is a private chef and makes great food. I couldn’t eat any of it.”

Trina Henry-PatrickDiet dead ends

For the rest of 2011, Henry-Patrick took medication to manage gas levels in her stomach, but when it failed, she turned to food journals and a new diet.

“I cut out all red meat, sausage, coffee, and soda,” she says. “I pretty much just ate nuts and berries and leaves. Nothing worked.”

Last February, she met with general surgeon Gary Alexander, MD, FACS, at Methodist Mansfield Medical Center. He diagnosed Henry-Patrick with a severe hiatal hernia: About 25 percent of her stomach was pushing up into her chest cavity through an opening in the diaphragm. The result was almost a vacuum effect that pulled stomach acid up into the esophagus.

While surgery would fix the problem, Henry-Patrick wanted to try medication again. For seven more months, she struggled to regain her quality of life. Finally, she couldn’t take it anymore.

Freedom from the pain

“Trina’s condition was much more severe than most patients I see,” Dr. Alexander says.

With the robotic da Vinci® Surgical System, he was able to draw the stomach below the diaphragm. He then repaired the opening in the diaphragm and performed Nissen fundoplication — essentially wrapping the top part of the stomach around the bottom of the esophagus. This tightened the opening to the esophagus, preventing acid reflux.

“Da Vinci makes surgery so much easier and faster, and it has multiple benefits for patients, including less pain,” Dr. Alexander says. “They’re up walking around the same day.”

Henry-Patrick was convinced of the robot’s effectiveness when she saw her minimal scars.

“They were so small, just like a scrape when a child falls and skins his knee,” she says.

Trina Henry-Patrick and her family.Being mommy again

After her one-night stay at Methodist Mansfield, Henry-Patrick has since healed smoothly, gradually introducing her favorite foods back into her diet — including her beloved coffee.

“I feel that I had a great experience,” she says. “I would encourage others in my situation to make this change for their lives — to not worry and to trust the process. It really works.”

Watch a hiatal hernia patient education animation.

From the spring 2014 edition of Shine magazine.