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Robotic Surgery Patient Testimonials

Bridgette Manning

Hysterectomy Patient

Bridgette Manning, Hysterectomy Patient

With three busy young children, Bridgette Manning couldn’t consider taking a month and a half off from life for a traditional hysterectomy, and after seeing the recovery of other women from the surgery in the past, she was inclined to put it off anyway.

Bridgette suffered from endometriosis, when cells from the lining of the uterus start to grow in other parts of the body. The condition caused her irregular bleeding and pain, to the point that she was doubled over at the start of menstruation, as well as fertility problems.

After trying to conceive for nine years, she and her husband had adopted twin baby boys in 2004, and weeks after they arrived, they found out Bridgette was pregnant with their daughter. They embraced their suddenly full household and as the kids grew, they stayed on the go, taking walks, visiting the park, even roller-blading. Plus, Bridgette did what she could to pitch in at the family business. “There was no way in this world that I could be down for six weeks.”

As a result, Bridgette delayed having a hysterectomy, opting for an imperfect short-term solution to manage her endometriosis until her children started to attend school. By that point in 2010, she was glad to learn from her gynecologist about a new alternative available through Trident Health: minimally invasive da Vinci hysterectomy.

“It was easier for me than having my wisdom teeth removed for my braces,” says Bridgette. “The people who saw me after the surgery said, ‘My gosh, I can’t believe how fast you’ve bounced back.’”

Trident Health established the South Carolina Institute for Robotic Surgery as a result of its resounding success with the da Vinci system for gynecologic surgeries as well as other procedures, such as prostate surgery. Da Vinci surgeries offer several benefits:

  • less scarring
  • shorter hospital stay
  • reduced blood loss and need for transfusions
  • faster recovery and return to normal daily activities
  • reduced trauma to the body
  • less post-operative pain and discomfort
  • smaller risk of infection.

Bridgette trusted Dr. Molly E. Senokozlieff’s recommendation to use da Vinci, and she trusted in Trident Medical Center (TMC), where the procedure was performed. After all, that was where Bridgette and all of her children had been born. Yet, she wouldn’t have to stay at the hospital for long after her hysterectomy.

She had her surgery on a Friday and after checking out the next morning, she stopped for a donut and coffee on the way home with her husband. That afternoon she was walking to put fliers for the homeowner’s association in her neighbors’ mailboxes. “I giggled about it and called it my weekend hysterectomy.”

Because of the precision allowed by robotic surgery, doctors now can do more complex procedures laparoscopically, maneuvering instruments through small cuts in the abdomen, rather than resorting to more invasive open surgery.

While Bridgette’s recovery was remarkable, she is not alone, says Dr. Senokozlieff. “Many of the women that I have operated on with da Vinci have had that experience.”

And because of the shortened recovery times, many women who need to have a hysterectomy for critical reasons and those who choose the surgery to resolve chronic problems or even as a preventive measure to eliminate a high cancer risk no longer have to put family or career on hold as a result.

For more information on robotic surgery, please call (843) 797-3463.


Tom Hall

Prostatectomy Patient

Tom Hall, Prostatectomy Patient

Faced with aggressive prostate cancer, Summerville resident Tom Hall searched the East coast for the best surgeon. That extensive search brought Tom home, where he found Dr. Ted Brisson and Trident Health’s South Carolina Institute for Robotic Surgery. “It’s a great feeling to know the very best was in my own back yard all along.”

Dr. Brisson had an excellent reputation, and Tom felt confident placing his future in the doctor’s hands. “I wanted to go down this road with someone that I trusted completely.”

Tom chose robotic surgery over traditional surgery after research showed that robotic surgery requires a smaller incision and typically involves less pain, scarring and blood loss, while also promising a quicker recovery. That was important to Tom, whose active life includes drumming at his church and running – activities that might have been put on indefinite hold with traditional surgery. Three years after the surgery, Tom is still cancer free. “Cancer is like a big bad bully. With the help of Dr. Brisson and robotic surgery, we were able to land a couple upper cuts to cancer.”

Over the past three years, Trident has emerged as a pioneer in robotic surgery, and in 2011, it performed 662 robotic procedures, twice as many as any other hospital in the Lowcountry. The South Carolina Institute for Robotic Surgery includes a team of 14 surgeons and dozens of staff specifically trained to use the da Vinci Surgical System for a wide range of procedures.

“It’s phenomenal – the volume, the outcomes. They’ve really done a great job,” says Dr. Brisson, who credits Trident Health for its investment in state-of-the-art equipment and training. He says the da Vinci system allows patients to have outcomes on par to a facility such as Duke University or the Mayo Clinic, but with the personal follow-up and care of a local hospital.

Tom has no doubt having robotic surgery in his own community turned out to be the right decision for him. “It’s frightening to be diagnosed with cancer, but it’s great to know that there are other options these days. Robotics was great for me. Now, I’m in a place to share my story and educate others about the options they have.”

For more information on robotic surgery, please call (843) 797-3463.