Pascagoula man chooses robotic surgery - - The News for South Mississippi

Pascagoula man chooses robotic surgery


By Karen Abernathy – bio | email

PASCAGOULA, MS (WLOX) - Mike Heidelberg is like a lot of people, especially men, who often put off going to the doctor for checkups. But he knew that at 62, it was even more important to follow through, and he's glad he didn't put it off this year. His annual physical and subsequent surgery at Singing River Hospital may have saved his life.

Heidelberg is no stranger to Singing River. He's President of the Board of Trustees for Singing River Health Systems, a board he has served on for more than ten years. But he had never been a patient at the facility until recently.

Heidelberg was diagnosed with prostate cancer shortly after his wife Susan convinced him to go for his annual physical.

"Being typical male you think you're invincible, that you're immortal, and nothing will happen to you," Mike said.

Mike's biopsy showed pre-cancerous cells in his prostate. He said the diagnosis was a wake up call.

"The first thing you do is examine your life and say, ‘What are the things I wanted to do? Didn't do?' This is a real eye opener to me."

Thanks to his connection to Singing River Hospital, he knew right away the treatment option he wanted to remove the prostate gland: the da Vinci Surgical Robot System.

"The fact that we had the first robot and board certified surgeon with experience here at Singing River, I knew that's what I wanted to do. Get rid of it and walk away and not worry about it."

Urologist Dr. Mark Lyell is Mike's physician. He has been using the new system since it arrived at Singing River in 2008.

"This is probably the most exciting device I've seen in my practice, because it has transformed an open procedure into a minimally invasive one with a shorter recuperation time," Dr. Lyell said.

Using the da Vinci System, doctors operate while seated at a console viewing a 3D image of the surgical field. Using five tiny incisions, the system translates the surgeon's movements into precise real time movements of surgical instruments.

"This allows us to spare the nerves for sexual function with much greater precision, and we can also allow them to return to normal urinary control sooner with this procedure."

Mike was up walking the afternoon of the surgery and was out of the hospital the next day, cancer free. He hopes sharing his story will encourage others to get regular physicals.

"My advice to people is to have it done every year. You can't afford not to, and an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure."

In addition to prostate surgery, the da Vinci System is used for a variety of procedures at Singing River, including kidney cancer surgeries and hysterectomies.

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