Johnston-Willis Hospital
October 19, 2015

More than 1000 da Vinci procedures performed by local oncologist

For years, Randal J. West, M.D., a board certified gynecologic oncologist with Central Virginia Gynecologic Oncology and Chippenham & Johnston-Willis Hospitals, has been specializing in the treatment of women with ovarian, cervical and uterine cancer.

Among the options available to his patients is da Vinci surgery – a minimally invasive procedure featuring a magnified 3D high-definition vision system and special instruments that allow physicians like Dr. West to operate with enhanced vision, precision, dexterity and control.

Earlier this year, Dr. West celebrated the completion of his 1000th da Vinci procedure, a rare accomplishment in the field of gynecologic surgery alone, which has given patients like Cindy Capel a speedy recovery and better quality of life. Capel had a total hysterectomy in 2013 to ensure removal of cancer.

“We made the transition to minimally invasive surgery with the da Vinci Robot as we saw that we were able to make a much more precise dissection with significantly less blood loss,” said Dr. West. “The patients were able to recover much more quickly with less hospitalization and return to their normal lives much sooner. Though it can’t be used on all tumors, robotic surgery has become a large part of our practice.”

When confronted with the reality of cancer surgery, Capel said she was told that the surgery would be performed using the da Vinci robot. When she questioned why the da Vinci would be used, she was told that surgery would be less invasive, there would be reduced down time, less pain and minimal hospital stay.

“It was all true. I had five small incisions, experienced very little pain after surgery, felt like my old self in a couple of days and missed little time from work,” she said. “For those reasons, using the da Vinci Robot facilitated a quick recovery, which was my objective.”

The da Vinci surgical system is designed to provide surgeons with enhanced capabilities, including high definition 3D vision and a magnified view. Surgeons control the da Vinci system, which translates his or her hand movements into smaller, more precise movements of tiny instruments inside the body.

Cancer related gynecologic da Vinci procedures include radical hysterectomies, lymph nodes dissection, resection of ovarian masses, and resection of tumors. Other gynecologic da Vinci procedures could also include a regular hysterectomy, single-site hysterectomy, endometriosis resection, myomectomy, sacrocolpopexy, and pelvic prolapse surgery.

“I attribute my speedy recovery and continuing health to my faith, family, friends, OB/GYN and Dr. West,” said Capel. “His skills as a surgeon using the da Vinci robot and his knowledge and abilities as a doctor are why I am cancer free today.”