For the first time the surgical oncologist Annabelle L. Fonseca, M.D., M.H.S. has performed a liver resection using robotic technology in South Alabama, a surgeon at USA Health University Hospital.
Fonseca is an assistant professor of surgery at the University of South Alabama College of Medicine. Earlier she joined the USA College of Medicine in 2018. later on, she has completed her surgical training at Yale University School of Medicine, followed by a fellowship in complex general surgical oncology at MD Anderson Cancer Center.
Robotic liver resection is made possible for a surgeon to reach and remove some liver tumors using tiny incisions in a minimally-invasive approach. This advancement in surgical techniques have many benefits such as tiny incisions is a quicker recovery time and reduced risk of postoperative complications. That, in turn, allows these cancer patients to get back to return to chemotherapy quicker, which could result in better overall outcomes. In this type of minimally-invasive procedure provides better pain control with less medication, a quicker return to daily activities as well as decreased formation of scar tissue which also reduces the patient’s hospital stay significantly.
The enhanced operative visualization during surgery allows for better access to the liver. “It’s a 3-D. It helps you work around corners, which is more important for the liver because the liver is sort of squished up and against the ribs and so it’s harder to get to,” said Dr. Fonseca.
The use of robotic procedures for hepato-pancreato-biliary diseases is still in its early stages. Most of these operations are still done with conventional ‘open’ surgeries. For all liver surgeries, robotic technology may not be the best alternative, but it gives surgeons another option to give patients the best care.