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Emergency Hernia Surgery, Done Robotically

Lynn Bankes developed an umbilical hernia in 1994, following the birth of her son. It wasn’t painful so she heeded to her doctor’s advice of “it it’s not bothering you, we won’t bother it.” But Lynn also understood that if any point in time her hernia became incredibly hard, coupled with vomiting, she would need to seek medical attention immediately.

Fast forward nearly 20 years, and that is exactly what happened. She called 9-1-1 and was transported to the Emergency Department at Beebe Healthcare, where it was confirmed that surgery was needed, with no time to spare. Then Lynn was told her surgery would be performed using the da Vinci Robotic Surgical System.

“The doctors explained that robotic surgery is a minimally invasive surgical technique that would make it possible for them to remove my hernia through a series of very tiny incisions, opposed to a larger incision across my stomach,” said Lynn, age 66, and a resident of Long Neck. “They told me I would be able to go home later that same day and sleep in my own bed that night, which made me happy. And, they assured me that by doing it this way, my pain and discomfort after surgery would be minimal.”

Mark Facciolo, DO, who is the Director of Beebe’s Robotic Surgery Program and a board certified general surgeon, performed Lynn’s surgery with the da Vinci Xi robotic system.

“The surgical team has been extensively trained to deliver the best robotic assisted surgical care available, which typically results in less pain and a shorter recovery time across a range of procedures,” Dr. Facciolo said. “Beebe runs one of the most efficient and quality focused program in the region because we have a totally invested team. It is a great benefit for the people of Sussex County.”

Everything Lynn was told rang true. Perhaps most surprising was that she returned home with two incredibly small incisions, covered with steri-strips, and with no need for pain medications. She was incredibly grateful for the expertise of Dr. Facciolo.

As Lynn reflects back, she couldn’t be happier about the quality care she received at Beebe, and specifically the experience she had as a robotic surgery patient. In the event she requires another surgery in her lifetime, one of the first questions she will ask is if it can be done with use of the robot.

“This experience really reinforces why I choose Beebe for my healthcare needs. I trust this team with my life,” Lynn said. “They listen and make it clear they are there to help you feel better. Compassionate care is something that you feel at Beebe – from the receptionists to the nurses, to the surgeons.”

Today, Lynn feels like a new person. She can reach down and touch her toes without any problems; a simple function that she was unable to perform for so many years because of her hernia. She is able to lift heavier things without fear that she will hurt herself. She can go to the beach and wear bathing suits, comfortably. And she can fully enjoy time with her son, now age 29.

“I remind him often that he caused this hernia,” said Lynn, with a giggle. “I am just so glad that my surgery went smoothly and I am now hernia-free.”