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Arlington patient calls robot-assisted surgery 'awesome'

Nov 3, 2021, 08:00 AM
Robin Schultz with her granddaughter holding flowers

Robin Schultz had no symptoms or clues that she may have a lung issue. No cough. No shortness of breath. She keeps up with her granddaughter and always bounded up the stairs at work.

She was, however, a smoker and fully understood that her habit could raise the risk of developing lung disease. According to the Centers for Disease Control, smokers are 25 times more likely to develop lung cancer than nonsmokers.

Knowing that smoking is a risk factor, Robin has had an annual low-dose CT screening for the past 10 years to check her lungs. In April 2021, the test showed a mass in her left lung and the discovery triggered a series of tests, physician visits and ultimately robotic-assisted surgery by Skagit Regional Health Thoracic Surgeon Richard Leone, MD, PhD, FACS.

Robin, who works as a Pharmacy Tech at Cascade Valley Hospital in Arlington, credits the screening exam for catching her illness early.

“I had no kind of symptoms at all,” she said. “It was caught so early I had no chemo, no radiation. I’m good and I have a great life ahead of me.”

The diagnosis for Robin was not cancer, but rather an old infection. The CT scan was followed by a positron emission tomography (PET) scan, biopsy and surgery.

Dr. Leone used the da Vinci® Xi™ Surgical System at Skagit Valley Hospital to remove the top lobe of Robin’s left lung in a minimally invasive procedure that required just a two-day hospital stay and left only very small scars.

“I’m sold on it as an amazing tool,” Dr. Leone said of the robotic system. “It allows us to do procedures more gently and in a much less invasive manner using precise, tiny instruments.”

Another benefit to the less invasive approach is that many patients don’t need narcotics, Dr. Leone said.

Dr. Leone also uses a navigational bronchoscopy to inject special dye in a detected lung mass that is picked up visually by the robot’s camera and helps guide the surgeon during the procedure.

“Sometimes, these nodules are so small you can’t see them with the naked eye. With these special dyes, it glows under the 3D imaging of the robot’s camera, helping me target the area,” Dr. Leone said.

Robin’s remaining left lung lobe has expanded to fill the space and she quickly returned to work and normal activities with family and volunteering.

“She will do just fine with it,” Dr. Leone said.

“It’s amazing what the body can do,” Robin said. “I was back to work in 11 days because of that robot. You heal up so much faster. It’s amazing.”

Robin, who lives in Arlington, was pleased that she could get all of her care, from the CT and PET scans to bronchoscopy and robotic surgery, close to home at Skagit Regional Health.

“I was confident in going to and staying with Skagit Regional Health,” she said. “Everybody was so awesome.”

Dr. Leone also credits the outstanding Operating Room staff of physician assistants, nurses, techs and anesthesiologists for the success of the growing robotic-assisted surgery program at Skagit Valley Hospital.

“This is an awesome team. It’s not just me doing the operation, the OR team is really great,” Dr. Leone said. “It’s a whole team effort.”

Robin is proud to say she has officially quit smoking and looks forward to traveling, helping out at her granddaughter’s school and serving as the board president of the Camp Fire location known as Camp Zanika on Lake Wenatchee, which she calls “her special place.”

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Last post : 11/24/2021

Arlington patient calls robot-assisted surgery 'awesome'

Nov 3, 2021, 08:00 AM
Robin Schultz with her granddaughter holding flowers

Robin Schultz had no symptoms or clues that she may have a lung issue. No cough. No shortness of breath. She keeps up with her granddaughter and always bounded up the stairs at work.

She was, however, a smoker and fully understood that her habit could raise the risk of developing lung disease. According to the Centers for Disease Control, smokers are 25 times more likely to develop lung cancer than nonsmokers.

Knowing that smoking is a risk factor, Robin has had an annual low-dose CT screening for the past 10 years to check her lungs. In April 2021, the test showed a mass in her left lung and the discovery triggered a series of tests, physician visits and ultimately robotic-assisted surgery by Skagit Regional Health Thoracic Surgeon Richard Leone, MD, PhD, FACS.

Robin, who works as a Pharmacy Tech at Cascade Valley Hospital in Arlington, credits the screening exam for catching her illness early.

“I had no kind of symptoms at all,” she said. “It was caught so early I had no chemo, no radiation. I’m good and I have a great life ahead of me.”

The diagnosis for Robin was not cancer, but rather an old infection. The CT scan was followed by a positron emission tomography (PET) scan, biopsy and surgery.

Dr. Leone used the da Vinci® Xi™ Surgical System at Skagit Valley Hospital to remove the top lobe of Robin’s left lung in a minimally invasive procedure that required just a two-day hospital stay and left only very small scars.

“I’m sold on it as an amazing tool,” Dr. Leone said of the robotic system. “It allows us to do procedures more gently and in a much less invasive manner using precise, tiny instruments.”

Another benefit to the less invasive approach is that many patients don’t need narcotics, Dr. Leone said.

Dr. Leone also uses a navigational bronchoscopy to inject special dye in a detected lung mass that is picked up visually by the robot’s camera and helps guide the surgeon during the procedure.

“Sometimes, these nodules are so small you can’t see them with the naked eye. With these special dyes, it glows under the 3D imaging of the robot’s camera, helping me target the area,” Dr. Leone said.

Robin’s remaining left lung lobe has expanded to fill the space and she quickly returned to work and normal activities with family and volunteering.

“She will do just fine with it,” Dr. Leone said.

“It’s amazing what the body can do,” Robin said. “I was back to work in 11 days because of that robot. You heal up so much faster. It’s amazing.”

Robin, who lives in Arlington, was pleased that she could get all of her care, from the CT and PET scans to bronchoscopy and robotic surgery, close to home at Skagit Regional Health.

“I was confident in going to and staying with Skagit Regional Health,” she said. “Everybody was so awesome.”

Dr. Leone also credits the outstanding Operating Room staff of physician assistants, nurses, techs and anesthesiologists for the success of the growing robotic-assisted surgery program at Skagit Valley Hospital.

“This is an awesome team. It’s not just me doing the operation, the OR team is really great,” Dr. Leone said. “It’s a whole team effort.”

Robin is proud to say she has officially quit smoking and looks forward to traveling, helping out at her granddaughter’s school and serving as the board president of the Camp Fire location known as Camp Zanika on Lake Wenatchee, which she calls “her special place.”