PMC surgeon completes 1000th surgery using robotic machine

ROCK HILL, S.C. (CN2 NEWS) – It is National Robotics Week. One surgeon at Piedmont Medical Center in Rock Hill has completed more than 1,000 surgeries on a robotics machine called the da Vinci Surgical System.

York County’s Sheila Kohler is a patient who says she can now live life to the fullest after bariatric surgery. She says she has Dr. Alex Espinal with Piedmont Medical Center and technology to thank.

“I feel alive”, says Kohler.

Khouler says her life is just beginning.

“Now I can walk to wherever you want me to”, says Khouler.

About a year ago, life looked totally different”, says Khouler.

“I weighed almost 400 pounds and I couldn’t do anything. I sat in a chair all day long, every day. And I was bored and I honestly thought why am I doing this”, says Khouler.

Sheila heard about a seminar on bariatric surgery at Piedmont Medical Center. After learning more, Sheila met with Surgeon Dr. Alex Espanial and how he could perform the surgery using a robotic machine.

“Robotics let’s us do more advance operations more complex procedures, through small incisions”, says Dr. Espanial.

Dr. Espinal has been in the medical field for 25 years. He said at first he was reluctant to the da Vinci Surgical System.

“I had been doing all of these operations laparoscopically and doing them for years that way. Then, when this came out I started doing just a little bit to see and I saw its value. And as time went by after doing the surgeries I did before that were more complex, it made those operations go even better”, says Dr. Espanial.

Now he’s performed more than 1,000 surgeries on the da Vinci Surgical System at Piedmont Medical Center.

“As a surgeon I sit in a large console, sort of like a large video game, and I work all of the instruments through this, after I put the instruments in the abdominal cavity”, says. Dr. Espanial.

For Sheila, the surgery saved her. She’s lost 174 pounds and counting. She is also off diabetes medication and her blood pressure medications have significantly reduced. Most of all, she now can spend time with her grandchildren.

“I can go to the park and I can follow the kids around and I can crawl up on the sliding board and slide right down behind them” says Khouler.

Piedmont Medical Center has two da Vinci Surgical Systems and many other surgeons also use them to perform several procedures like in a patient’s ear, nose, and throat.

Dr. Espanial says he has performed up to five procedures in one day using the robotic system.

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