It’s been a long road to recovery for Robert Silva. On Thanksgiving Eve 2018, he was taken to the emergency room at Broward Health Imperial Point Hospital, experiencing severe abdominal pain. There, he was diagnosed with diverticulitis, a condition where small pouches, or sacs, form and push outward through weak spots in the colon wall. These pouches are most common in the lower part of the colon. It was devastating news recalls Silva, “my dad died of diverticulitis complications.”
Silva went home but was back in the ER one week later. This time he was seen by Dr. Chi Zhang, a general surgeon who determined that Silva needed emergency colon surgery. “Mr. Silva had recurrent diverticulitis with a perforation, basically there was a hole in his colon that was life-threatening,” said Dr. Zhang.
“They cut a piece of my intestine and I needed a colostomy bag, I wanted to die. The bag was the worst part,” said Silva. It took three months for Silva to feel strong enough to return to the hospital for a colostomy reversal. “The first surgery was traditional open surgery with a long incision down my abdomen. I didn’t want to be reopened, I thought I wouldn't make it,” said Silva.
Dr. Zhang considered the patient a perfect candidate for da Vinci Xi robotic system colorectal surgery, because it allowed completion of the operation with a small incision, not to mention a much easier recovery. “This is because with robotic arms, there is increased dexterity and flexibility, including a 3D camera that offers greater visibility through a small incision. After the robotic surgery the patient’s recovery was much easier with little need for pain medication,” said Dr. Zhang.
Silva was back at work within a week after the robotic surgery.
“My quality of life is a 10, I feel like myself again," Silva said. "Having another surgery was a difficult decision, but it was the right decision!”