Helen Keller Hospital Surgeon Performs First Robot-Assisted Single Site Gall Bladder Surgery in Northwest Alabama


May 20, 2013

Sheffield, AL - Dr. Wesley Desselle, General Surgeon on staff at Helen Keller Hospital, is the first surgeon in northwest Alabama to perform a single-site, robot-assisted cholecystecomy with the da Vinci surgery system. (A cholecystectomy is surgery to remove the gallbladder.) He performed two of these procedures on Friday, May 17, 2013, at Helen Keller Hospital.

Since February, Dr. Desselle has performed more than 27 robotic-assisted cholecystectomies, but until now, they were done with more incisions. The single-site surgery is performed through only one incision in the navel (belly button), which dramatically limits visible scarring.

"I'm thrilled to offer my patients the option of the single-site robotic-assisted gallbladder surgery," said Dr. Desselle. "The benefits for patients having this surgery are a quicker recovery, less blood loss and less scarring. Most importantly, they have good outcomes, and are out of the hospital and back to their lives quickly."

With this system, the surgeon controls the da Vinci "arms," which translates his or her hand movements into smaller, more precise movements of tiny instruments inside the patient's body. Together, the da Vinci System and Single-Site instruments allow the doctor to perform gallbladder surgery through a single incision. This system has been used successfully worldwide in hundreds of thousands of procedures to date.

Helen Keller Hospital was the first hospital in the Shoals to offer robotic-assisted surgery, beginning in 2010, and has the most experienced robotic team in the area. Surgeons at Helen Keller Hospital have performed more than 900 robotic-assisted surgeries in the specialties of gynecology (such as hysterectomy) and urology (such as prostatectomy) and now general surgery (cholecystectomy).

The robotically-trained surgeons at Helen Keller Hospital include Dr. Martha Aldridge, Dr. George Allen, III, Dr. Wesley Desselle, Dr. F.C. Gapultos, Dr. Stephen Keith, Dr. Steven Snyder, Dr. Larry Stutts, Dr. Mark Smith and Dr. Michael Yordy.

Taking excellent care of surgical patients also demands a specially-trained robotic team to assist the physicians. The Helen Keller robotic team includes Yasmin Montgomery, RN, First Assist and GYN/Robotic Coordinator; Heather Bynon, OR Tech - Scrub; Dana Kimbrough, RN, Circulator; Jackie Fleming, RN, Circulator; Leisa English, RN, Circulator; Rhonda Hudson, RN, BSN, CNOR, RNFA, General Surgery Coordinator; Andrea Hammond, OR Tech, Scrub, Urology Coordinator.