Sara Cederberg – da Vinci Single-Site Gallbladder Surgery Success Story

Gallbladder pain gone with Single-Site robotic surgery

Sara Cederberg and her son “Dr. Birdwell and the nurses were amazing,”
she adds. “They took time to explain everything
to me thoroughly, and they regularly checked up
on me while I was recovering from surgery —
even after I was out of the hospital.

For years, Sara Cederberg thought that her food issues were just “something to deal with.”

“Since I was a teenager, I had abdominal issues, like cramping and nausea, when I tried to eat anything that was high in fat or particularly oily,” recalls the 37-year-old mom and financial services professional. “If I had pizza, I’d be sick within a matter of hours, if not minutes. I thought I didn’t have any choice but to live with the situation.”

All of that changed in spring 2014, when Sara’s symptoms suddenly grew much worse.

“I was at a special event where I’d had cocktail party food and drink,” she says. “The next day, I didn’t feel right at all.”

Her worsening symptoms led her to the emergency department that same week — and eventually to an ultrasound of her gallbladder that revealed the presence of a polyp.

The robotic approach to gallbladder removal

“Dr. Birdwell and the nurses were amazing,” she adds. “They took time to explain everything to me thoroughly, and they regularly checked up on me while I was recovering from surgery — even after I was out of the hospital.

“Thankfully, the polyp later proved to be noncancerous,” Sara says. “But even so, I still couldn’t eat anything without my gallbladder contracting and causing me a lot of pain and other problems.”

Ultimately, Sara was referred to Russ Birdwell, MD, general surgeon at Methodist Richardson Medical Center. Based on the results of the ultrasound and Sara’s history of symptoms, Dr. Birdwell recommended a cholecystectomy (gallbladder removal).

“Luckily, patients can live normal lives without a gallbladder,” Dr. Birdwell explains. “Once it’s gone, the gallbladder’s chief function — to support the body’s digestion of fat — can be handled by the liver and the intestines.”

And the procedure is easier and safer than ever with the help of the robotic da Vinci® Surgical System and the Single-Site® approach.

“Single-Site allows us to perform gallbladder removal with only one small incision, which results in less pain, less scarring, and shorter recovery time for patients,” Dr. Birdwell says. “The robot gives surgeons increased visibility and flexibility, as well.”

Sara says the decision to go through with the procedure was an easy one.

“I’d had a previous surgery assisted by the da Vinci robot, and it had gone very well,” she says. “I particularly like that robotic surgery gives surgeons so much precision.”

A positive experience with Methodist Richardson

Immediately following surgery, Sara began to notice improvement in her symptoms.

“I was able to resume most of my normal activities within a couple of days,” she says. “Once that happened, I felt great. And best of all, I haven’t had any digestive issues since the surgery.

“Dr. Birdwell and the nurses were amazing,” she adds. “They took time to explain everything to me thoroughly, and they regularly checked up on me while I was recovering from surgery — even after I was out of the hospital.

“They made me feel valued and respected and like I was more than just a number.”