Robotic Procedure Saves Life

Single-Site® robotic surgery helped Tara Woodlee get back more quickly to what’s important after a hysterectomy and removal of two noncancerous tumors.

In January 2015, Tara Woodlee, 45, started having menstrual problems, including significantly increased blood flow and severe pain. The tipping point came in March, when she woke up bleeding and in pain at 4 a.m. Her husband took her to Texoma Medical Center, where an exploratory dilation and curettage (D&C) revealed two tumors, including one the size of a small cantaloupe, on top of Woodlee’s uterus.

“When Tara got to Texoma Medical Center, she had already lost six units of blood. She was about to hemorrhage to death,” says TexomaCare obstetrician and gynecologist Stacey Thornton, MD, FACOG. Since one tumor was growing into the wall of the uterus, she needed a hysterectomy. Woodlee says she imagined the “old” kind with a large scar across her abdomen. To her relief, Dr. Thornton told her she was a candidate for da Vinci® Single-Site® robotic surgery, where the organ is removed through one small incision about the size of a peanut.

After four blood transfusions, Woodlee was prepped for surgery. “We had the robot ready in 12 minutes,” says Dr. Thornton. He says that this surgical technique is preferred with procedures such as hysterectomies. “The area is magnified 300 times its normal size, so I can see all the vasculature and safely navigate through it,” he says.

The procedure itself took 45 minutes, and Woodlee returned home the next day. She wasn’t able to lift more than 5 pounds the first two weeks; other than that, she had no restrictions. She says Single-Site® surgery helped make her return to activity “much easier” and aided her physical recovery. “I’m not getting tired like I was before and have a lot more energy. That area of my stomach actually feels tighter and is flattening out. I think I look better than ever,” she says.

Two months later, Woodlee is doing what she loves the most: playing with and easily picking up her 15-month-old granddaughter without getting tired or out of breath. “I feel better than I have in a long time,” she says. “I feel like a million dollars.”

Learn more about robotic surgery at TMC >

Learm more about women's services at TMC >