First Robotic-Assisted Surgery at Southern Ocean Medical Center a Success   

First Robotic-Assisted Surgery at Southern Ocean Medical Center a Success


When Ashley Dearing was scheduled for bariatric surgery, little did she know that she would be the first patient to experience robotic-assisted surgery at Southern Ocean Medical Center.

“I was shocked at first, but after my bariatric surgeon, Dr. Nangeroni, explained the procedure and assured me that he would assist Dr. Greco in the surgery, I felt extremely lucky,” Ashley says.

The 28-year old of Forked River, New Jersey, has battled weight problems her entire life. Coping with years of dieting and exercise, combined with a feeling of low self-esteem, convinced Ashley to turn things around. She also knew she had to make a serious lifestyle change after watching her mother suffer in a nursing home for years due to hip problems caused by her weight.

The Start of a Weight-loss Journey

In April, 2021, Ashley started her weight-loss journey with the bariatric team at the Center for Bariatrics at Southern Ocean, where she received medical, nutritional and exercise counseling prior to surgery.

“As a young woman with a bright future ahead, bariatric surgery was the right decision to help guide Ashley to a new lifelong plan of healthy living,” says James Nangeroni, D.O., general and bariatric surgeon. “With gastric sleeve surgery, 80 percent of the patient’s stomach is removed to reduce their appetite and capacity for food, which typically results in excess weight loss.”

After more than two months preparing for her surgery, Ashley was scheduled for a laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy on June 22. A week before her surgery, she received a call from the perioperative services team at Southern Ocean to let her know that robotic-assisted surgery was now available to her. After consulting with Dr. Nangeroni and the surgical team, Ashley agreed that this was the best option and was grateful to be the first patient to undergo robotic-assisted bariatric surgery at the hospital.

“While laparoscopic surgery offers many advantages to open surgery by using smaller incisions, robotic-assisted surgery brings minimally invasive surgery to the next level as a new standard of care,” says Richard Greco, D.O., general and bariatric surgeon. “Robotic-assisted surgery enables the surgeon to operate with more precision, steadiness and enhanced magnification across all body types and weight ranges with less strain on the patient’s abdominal wall, which reduces pain and length of stay.”

Less Pain and Shorter Stay

Ashley’s surgery went phenomenally well. She was able to leave the hospital after an overnight stay with very little pain and no complications. After a few weeks, she was back taking care of and playing with a child she watches as a nanny.

The hospital’s leadership, doctors and surgical team are extremely excited about this new addition. With the $2 million investment in the da Vinci Xi® Surgical System at the medical center, patients in the community have access to expanded surgical options with high-quality, minimally invasive surgical treatment and care..

Southern Ocean is offering robotic-assisted surgery in general surgery (bariatric, hernia, gallbladder), urogynecology and thoracic specialties.

A month after surgery, Ashley has lost 35 pounds and continues to lose weight with a low-carb, protein rich diet and regular exercise activities.

Next Steps & Resources

The material provided through HealthU is intended to be used as general information only and should not replace the advice of your physician. Always consult your physician for individual care.


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