Robots Help Bismarck Surgeons, Amazes Patient
Wed, April 14, 2021

Robots Help Bismarck Surgeons, Amazes Patient

The da Vinci XI surgical AI helped perform surgery on 79-year-old Diane Gladowski who has a hernia in her abdomen / Photo Credit: Corona Borealis Studio (via Shutterstock)


79-year-old Diane Gladowski underwent surgery on her abdomen to repair a hernia, and she could not believe she was recovering quickly, reported Bilal Suleiman of daily newspaper Miami Herald. Glodowski also had hysterectomies, appendectomies, gallbladder surgery, leaving her in an opiate-induced haze for weeks. But this surgery was different from the ones she had before, as she could now leave the hospital the same day as the surgery. Glodowski only needed two opioid pain pills to recover, allowing her to waltz to a classical music program on TV, her favorite type of exercise. 

“I was usually in the hospital, what, five days at least, after all the other surgeries. And then you went home and were still in pain and didn’t do anything,” Gladowski narrated. In fact, she needed to remind herself that she had just undergone surgery a week ago. A robot, her surgeon’s special assistant, helped make the difference. Robot-assisted surgeries have been employed in certain types of operations for over a decade. However, Sanford Health in Bismarck acquired a recent version of da Vinci Xi, the robot who helped Gladowski’s surgeon, Josh Knudson, 38. 

“The biggest thing is it allows us to do minimally invasive surgery on a wider range of patients. And as a whole, minimally invasive surgery leads to faster recovery,” explained Knudson, who is also a general surgeon and robotic surgery specialist at Sanford. Earlier this year, he was trained to use an earlier version of da Vinci Xi and he has since used the recent version in the last few months. Interestingly, Glodowski’s case was the first to be undertaken using the new robot at the hospital. Knudson believed in the robot’s capabilities after seeing an improvement in his patients’ recovery. 

He said, “I have never seen somebody come back two weeks later and say that they’ve only taken two pain pills, and she’s been back exercising like normal.” Gladowski was not nervous when Knudson informed her that he would be using a robot to perform the surgery. She just posed two questions: “I just looked at him and said, ‘You’re going to put a robot in that room with me? Where are you going to be?’”