Karen Darcangelo – da Vinci Gynecological Surgery Success Story

da Vinci making a difference

A renaissance for gynecologic surgical procedures made it easier for Karen Darcangelo to get back to taking care of her son and activities she loves.

undefinedFrom the fall 2011 edition of Shine magazine.

Ten years ago, Karen Darcangelo had a traditional hysterectomy, which left her ovaries intact. Earlier this year, a BRACAnalysis®, a genetic test that indicates risk for hereditary breast and ovarian cancer, revealed that she had an 87 percent chance of developing breast or ovarian cancer.

"I have two close family members with breast cancer," she explains. "After talking with my physician, I could see a total hysterectomy was in my future." Darcangelo adds that she also had a lot of confidence in her physician, Richard Salter, MD, an independently practicing obstetrician/gynecologist on the medical staff at Methodist Richardson Medical Center. "He recommended I have both of my ovaries removed to reduce my risk of getting breast cancer."

Making a choice

In preparation for her procedure, Darcangelo read educational materials and blogs and even talked to a few of Dr. Salter's patients who had had surgery with the da Vinci® Surgical System.

"I'm a single mom with a crazy schedule, and I could not afford to be down," Darcangelo says. "The benefit of faster recovery time, smaller incision, and less pain with the da Vinci robotic system helped make my decision easy."

Is da Vinci right for you?

Dr. Salter says that with few exceptions, most intra-abdominal and pelvic gynecologic surgery can be performed with the da Vinci robot.

"The da Vinci system has dramatically changed major gynecologic surgery," he says. "Its benefits over traditional surgery include significantly less blood loss and potential need for transfusion, less risk of infection, shorter hospital stays, quicker return to normal activities, minimal scarring, and overall better outcomes and patient satisfaction."

Darcangelo had late-morning surgery on April 26 and walked out the next day. "I walked out of the hospital with little restriction," she says with a smile. "On day five, I was out working in my yard."

Darcangelo has returned to her demanding job as a regional property manager and is able to enjoy time with her son and friends. She says minimally invasive da Vinci surgery is definitely the best way to have a hysterectomy. Compared to her partial hysterectomy 10 years ago, which had her bedridden for two weeks, the downtime and pain were greatly reduced.

"I am grateful for Dr. Salter, Methodist Richardson Medical Center, and the staff for giving me exceptional care," Darcangelo says. "I am happy to have been a part of this advanced procedure."