For Eatontown Woman, UTI Reveals Need for Robotic Surgery

August 23, 2021

When Nyhia Oughterson began feeling lower back pain and burning during urination after several days of pelvic pain, she was concerned but sure things would clear up on their own.

“I’d never had a urinary tract infection [UTI] before, so I didn’t know what to do,” says Nyhia, a 20-year-old college student from Eatontown, New Jersey. “I did a little research and bought some cranberry juice and supplements hoping that would knock it out.”

But a few days later, during a trip home for Thanksgiving, things worsened. She had fever and chills, was unable to eat, and began vomiting and sweating profusely.

“At one point in the night, I had to fall out of my bed just to get myself to the bathroom. I was in that much pain,” she says.

At her mother’s insistence, Nyhia finally went to an urgent care clinic, where a doctor told her she had severe UTI and needed to go to the hospital for testing.

Nyhia went to Jersey Shore University Medical Center where they performed a scan of her kidneys and found a 9-centimeter cyst on her left kidney.

“It was almost as big as my kidney,” Nyhia says.

Robotic Surgery for Quicker Recovery

Before her urologist, Mark Perlmutter, M.D., could remove the cyst from her kidney, she’d have to first heal from the UTI or risk infection during surgery.

“A cyst like that in such a young person is unusual,” Dr. Perlmutter says. “When they do develop, they’re usually smaller. We don’t know how or why she got it, other than bad luck. The cyst was so large that it was partially compressing and at risk of obstructing her ureter and kidney drainage system. It was putting her at risk for recurrent significant urine and kidney infections in the future.”

After the UTI cleared up with a 10-day antibiotic, Dr. Perlmutter performed robotic surgery on Nyhia at Ocean Medical Center to remove the cyst from her kidney. With robotic surgery, the procedure only required five tiny incisions in her abdomen.

“There are many advantages to robotic surgery, especially in the kidney area,” Dr. Perlmutter says. “The incisions are barely noticeable, and the process creates minimal bleeding, which means people feel better sooner after surgery.”

Three days after surgery, Nyhia says she was standing up, moving around and feeling much better.

“I feel totally fine now, like it didn’t affect my life at all,” she says. “If I hadn’t gotten the UTI, I may have never known the cyst was there.”

In January 2022, she will get a repeat CT scan to make sure the cyst hasn’t grown back, but otherwise, she will require no long-term care.

“Though Nyhia was unlucky to have this cyst, the great thing is that now that the cyst is removed, her problem is completely gone,” Dr. Perlmutter says. “Now she can go about her life like nothing ever happened.”

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