Open Accessibility Menu

Julia Mijares – da Vinci Single-Site Gallbladder Surgery Success Story


A surgery worth singling out

Julia Mijares and her daughter rolling out dough. Julia is glad she had Single-Site gallbladder
removal with the da Vinci Surgical System at
Methodist Charlton. Now she can enjoy cooking
and baking – and quality time with her
family – again without pain.

March 2014 didn’t end well for Julia Mijares. Pain in her abdomen had forced her to go to the Methodist Charlton Medical Center emergency department (ED), and tests revealed that she had gallstones — lots of them.

“I found out later that my gallbladder was packed with them,” Julia says. “I was in total shock after seeing the X-ray images.”

Julia was referred to Anil Tibrewal, MD, general surgeon on the medical staff at Methodist Charlton.

While there are treatments for the gallstones themselves, Dr. Tibrewal suggested Julia have her gallbladder removed to prevent recurrence of the painful condition. But before scheduling the elective surgery, he suggested she first try a low-fat diet. Julia was referred to Anil Tibrewal, MD, general surgeon on the medical staff at Methodist Charlton.

Julia Mijares' daughter“Fatty foods increase the number of gallstones blocking the bile duct during digestion,” Dr. Tibrewal says. “Avoiding fatty foods means fewer stones, less blockage, and less pain.”

No matter what Julia tried, however, the pain only worsened. Within a few days, she was back in the ED. This time she not only had gallstones but also pancreatitis from gallstones blocking the pancreatic tube. Surgery was inevitable.

A robotic solution

Dr. Tibrewal was able to offer Julia a new minimally invasive surgical technique for gallbladder removal: Single-Site™ with the robotic da Vinci® Surgical System.

Julia admits she was a little skeptical of robotic surgery, even though she knew the surgeon would be in complete control. She says it was comforting to know that Dr. Tibrewal is specially trained in operating with da Vinci, which gives surgeons increased visibility, dexterity, and precision when operating.

“The outcome was awesome!” Julia says about her Single-Site procedure, which required only one incision through her belly button, instead of the four incisions with traditional laparoscopic surgery.

Recovery was extremely fast. By the third day she was out of the hospital, and she returned to work within a week. With the pain gone, the month of April ended much better than March had.

“No one could believe how I recovered so fast, pain-free, and with almost no visible scar,” Julia says. “I would refer anyone to Dr. Tibrewal and Methodist Charlton.”

Julia Mijares familyPay attention to your body

Since the surgery, Julia doesn’t have diet restrictions. The busy mother of five is back to enjoying activities with her family, like cooking and baking.

She advises people to pay attention to their symptoms: “Follow up with your physician, especially if you have pain. Your upset stomach could be telling you something.”

From the winter 2014 issue of Shine magazine.