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83-Year-Old Woman Becomes “Surgeon For A Day”

June 24, 2011

83-year-old Irene Borovoy (r) became "surgeon for a day" as she test drives a da Vinci robot that was used during her surgery in early June.

Media Contact: Michelle Pinto

Manhasset, NY -- In the past, the standard approach to treating many gynecological conditions such as cervical and uterine cancer, uterine fibroids, endometriosis, uterine prolapse or excessive bleeding was for surgeons to use a large incision to access the uterus and surrounding anatomy. At Long Island Jewish (LIJ) Medical Center and North Shore University Hospital, gynecologists have been using the da Vinci Surgical System to minimize the pain and risk associated with large incisions, while increasing the likelihood of a fast recovery and excellent clinical outcomes for patients. Using the robot, surgeons make small incisions with tiny surgical instruments that they manipulate while looking through a surgical telescope called a laparoscope. The system enables them to achieve greater precision, increased range of motion, improved dexterity, enhanced visualization and improved access. For patients, laparoscopic surgery often results in a shorter hospital stay, less blood loss and pain, and a quicker return to normal activities.

That was the case with 83-year-old Irene Borovoy, of Bayside, Queens. Because of the presence of polyps, Ms. Borovoy underwent surgery on June 9. Sitting at the robotic system’s console a few feet from the patient, Diana Contreras, MD, director of gynecologic oncology, LIJ Medical Center, performed every surgical maneuver. The robot arms, on the patient side cart, were inserted through one-centimeter incisions in Ms. Borovoy’s abdomen. With a high-powered camera providing a three-dimensional view and magnification 10 times that of the naked eye, Dr. Contreras guided the robot’s arms, the tips of which are fixed with tiny, highly-specialized surgical tools.

Just a little more than one week after her surgery, Ms. Borovoy and several former female patients participated in a “test drive” of the da Vinci system, learning more about the robotic device that successfully treated them. They happily became surgeons for a day as they watched the technology come to life. As Ms. Borovoy skillfully handled the controls, she said, “It’s just amazing to know that I am using the machinery that made me well.”

Also on hand to guide their patients and explain the workings of the DaVinci robot was Antoinette Sakaris, MD, also a gynecologic oncologist at LIJ. After hearing from their patients, who were united in their appreciation of the new technology that allowed them to heal so quickly and return to the activities of daily life within a week, Dr. Contreras said, “This is the way surgery should be done on patients -- state-of-the-art technology, minimum pain, greatly reduced recuperation time. All in all, this is not your grandmother’s surgery.”

The demonstration was held at the North Shore-LIJ Health System’s Women’s Comprehensive Health Center at 1554 Northern Boulevard in Manhasset, NY.

To make an appointment with a gyn-oncologist, call 718-390-9252 or 516-562-4438. To learn more about North Shore-LIJ’s minimally invasive and robotic surgery capabilities, go to: www.northshorelij.com/wh/wh-our-services/wh-min-inv-robotic-surgery.


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