Bouncing Back

Patient Perspectives Karen McDermott

February 06, 2019

Robotic-assisted surgery eliminates Wall woman’s ovarian cyst while offering a quick recovery. 

Karen McDermott, 63, of Wall has always led an active lifestyle. The retired physical education teacher enjoys going to the gym, taking fitness classes and spending time at the beach.

Last spring, when bladder issues led Karen to see a urologist, an ultrasound revealed she had a cyst on her ovary.

Luckily, the cyst seemed to be benign and was not causing too much pain, just occasional discomfort when Karen was in bed at night. Karen’s doctor recommended keeping a close eye on the cyst for continued growth.

A Growing Problem

Several months later, Karen went for her annual checkup with her gynecologist, Robert Penney, M.D., affiliated with Riverview Medical Center.

“A pelvic ultrasound showed that the cyst on her ovary had grown significantly since the last scan,” says Dr. Penney. “In addition, a mass was now growing around the cyst.”

Dr. Penney gave Karen three options: wait and monitor the cyst to see if it grew larger, remove the affected ovary and cyst, or undergo a hysterectomy.

“My aunt died of ovarian cancer, and my mom died of breast cancer. Because of my family history, I decided to take the most aggressive route and have a hysterectomy,” Karen says.

Robotic-Assisted Approach

Karen opted for a robotic-assisted procedure at Riverview to remove her uterus and ovaries.

“Karen was an excellent candidate for robotic surgery,” says Dr. Penney. “Robotic surgery has many benefits, including faster and easier recovery for patients, less postoperative pain, smaller incisions with less scarring for improved cosmetic results, and an expedited return to daily activities.”

“The nurses explained everything to me before my surgery, so I was at ease — I wasn’t nervous at all,” Karen shares. “After surgery, they even taught me deep-breathing exercises to help manage any pain.”

Back In Action

Just two days later, Karen was ready to go back to the gym. However, she decided to heed her husband’s advice and take some extra time to rest.

Five days after her robotic hysterectomy, Karen was back at the gym and enjoying Zumba class. The week immediately following her surgery, she was able to make it to the gym a total of four times.

“At the gym, everyone kept saying, ‘I can’t believe you’re here — don’t you need to go in for surgery?’ They couldn’t believe I was able to bounce back so quickly,” Karen recalls. Today, Karen is pain-free and continues to enjoy an active lifestyle.

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