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Children’s Hospital doctor performs first pediatric procedure with surgical robot


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    Omaha, Nebraska (WOWT) — Technology that may have seemed like a page from the future fifty years ago, is now a part of the ‘here and now’ for Children’s Hospital and Medical Center.

One of its doctors, Dr. Claudia Berrondo, recently performed the first successful pediatric operation using a surgical robot and it’s not just the first at the hospital, but the first of its kind in the entire region.

While this type of technology is cutting edge, it’s not new. Robotics in medicine has been around since roughly 2007, but it’s how much the tech has advanced, that gives families more options, especially when it comes to serious procedures.

It’s also much newer in children’s medicine according to Dr. Berrondo, a Pediatric Urologist, who explains the pediatric world has been a bit slower at using the tool.

But that’s all changed. In October, donations from sponsors allowed Children’s Hospital to receive a Da Vinci Xi, more affectionately known as Leonardo or Leo, after young patients renamed him.

“Basically all it is, is arms that are controlled by the surgeon or the controller.” Dr. Berrondo explained as she likened Leo to a video game.

The surgeon sits at the console to see everything inside the patient’s body and controls three arms; one holding the camera and the other acting as left and right arms to operate.

“The really cool thing about the console and the special camera is that I actually have 3D vision rather than just a two dimensional view.” said Dr. Berrondo

The most common type of surgery Berrondo performs is a Pyeloplasty and that’s what her first patient, 11-year-old daredevil Dillon Husted, received.

Back in December, Dillon got into an accident while riding his dirt bike and flew over the handles.

“I was having left kidney pain and back pain.” he said. A Pyeloplasty would relieve that pain by clearing the blockage to his kidneys. It’s a reconstructive surgery of a narrowing or scarring where the ureter – the tube that drains urine from the kidney to the bladder – attaches to the kidney.

Dillon’s mom, Katie Bradley says her son is pretty tough, but she was still very concerned about the possibility of him undergoing surgery because he also has diabetes.

“For him to have anymore health issues just added to my anxiety and stress.” she said.

So when Dr. Berrondo explained to Bradley that there was an option that was less invasive, less time in the hospital and less pain but with the same results, she was beyond relieved.

“It went really smoothly for him. He didn’t need any sort of narcotics pain medication which I think in today’s environment is an added bonus.” Berrondo added.

And the innovative procedure didn’t just help Dillon, but for Bradley, a full time, single mom of four, it meant she could continue caring for her son and work. Bradley said if Dillon had a traditional surgery and needed more than a few weeks to recover, it would have been really tough to manage.

“That would be a lot more time off from work for me to take care of him.” she shared.

Since Dillon’s surgery in December, Dr. Berrondo has done eight more and says the landscape of pediatric medicine at Children’s hospital will be forever changed by this advancement, offering a minimally invasive option for families.

She’s currently the only doctor at the medical center who can work with Leo, but other physicians are quickly being trained.

As for Dillon, he says once he is completely recovered, which is not too far away, he plans to compete in dirt bike races.

Bradley laughed when Dillon said this, admitting her son is a handful, but that she was very grateful to Dr. Berrondo and Children’s hospital, who explained everything to her and Dillon every step of the way and eased their minds as he underwent surgery.

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