Robotic hysterectomy treats uterine cancer
For about a year, Huntington Beach resident Janis Kirkpatrick, was experiencing
irregular bleeding, so she decide to speak with a physician about it.
She was referred to Jonathan Wheeler, M.D., a Hoag-affiliated Obstetrician/Gynecologist
who discovered that Janis had been through menopause, and that the spotting
she was experiencing was post-menopausal.
“I didn’t even realize I had gone through menopause,”
says Janis. “I experienced no symptoms to indicate menopause, and
the spotting I had, I believed to be part of my regular menstrual cycle.”
Yet, even a little spotting after menopause is not normal, so Dr. Wheeler
suggested they do an in-office hysteroscopy to determine the cause of
the irregular bleeding. This revealed Janis had polyps, and a biopsy further
discovered that they were precancerous.
Oftentimes, a patient with precancerous polyps has a greater risk for
uterine cancer. While Dr. Wheeler is a skilled surgeon himself, he knew
that Janis, given her condition, would be best cared for by a gynecologic
oncologist, so he referred her to Lisa Abaid, M.D., a Hoag-affiliated
“For Janis’s age, weight and stage in life, we felt the ideal
option was a hysterectomy, and more specifically a robotic-assisted hysterectomy,”
states Dr. Abaid. “Robotic-assisted hysterectomy offers many benefits
to the patient, including smaller incisions and less bleeding which lead
to a quicker recovery time.”
Robotic surgery was also an ideal option for Janis because of her weight.
Women and men who are overweight, elderly, or who have limited mobility
face an increased risk of complications after traditional open surgery,
such as wound infections, blood clots, and pneumonia. Robotic surgery
is particularly beneficial in this group of high-risk patients, because
it avoids a long period of immobility, which then lowers the chances of
developing a serious postoperative complication.
At the time of her robotic hysterectomy, it was discovered that Janis
had had endometrial cancer, which occurs up to 40 percent of the time
when precancerous polyps are detected. She stayed at Hoag that evening,
and went home the next morning.
“I am so thankful for the care and expertise of Dr. Wheeler and
Dr. Abaid,” exclaims Janis. “I had my surgery on October 22,
and by October 31, I was up greeting the children on Halloween, passing
out helium balloons! It was truly remarkable how easy and quick my recovery
Janis now receives additional preventative health measures to ensure that
if the cancer returns that it is caught early, when most treatable.