Corby Thiel

Corby Thiel

Da Vinci Surgery

A minimally invasive option allows Corby to get back to life's activities quicker and with less pain.

“I had some pain at times, but I didn’t take much pain medicine. And if I had abdominal pain, it probably was because I overdid it, so I would rest and it was okay. The pain was like a soreness, but very tolerable.”

Completing a fellowship in minimally invasive (laparoscopic and robotic) surgery in Seattle prepared Dr. Meenu Goel in one of the newest surgical methods—da Vinci. It’s a minimally invasive option that requires only a few tiny incisions while delivering multiple benefits to patients.

Corby Thiel is one among many patients who is glad Dr. Goel, an Obstetrics and Gynecology physician at IU Health Arnett, was interested in mastering the sophisticated hysterectomy method. 

When Corby needed to address some medical issues—and make sure they weren’t indicators of uterine cancer, which it turned out they were not—she was unable to choose a vaginal hysterectomy. She was, however, a great candidate for da Vinci surgery.

“Dr. Goel didn’t think my anatomy was conducive for a vaginal hysterectomy,” Corby says. “She felt da Vinci would be best for me considering my age, lifestyle and the abilityto use a flexible scope in the da Vinci procedure.” 

MINIMALLY INVASIVE

Everything about it offered Corby positives over a traditional abdominal incision for surgery, which can mean a hospital stay, discomfort and six weeks recovery time.

Completing a fellowship in minimally invasive (laparoscopic and robotic) surgery in Seattle prepared Dr. Meenu Goel in one of the newest surgical methods—da Vinci. It’s a minimally invasive option that requires only a few tiny incisions while delivering multiple benefits to patients.

Corby Thiel is one among many patients who is glad Dr. Goel, an Obstetrics and Gynecology physician at IU Health Arnett, was interested in mastering the sophisticated hysterectomy method. When Corby needed to address some medical issues—and make sure they weren’t indicators of uterine cancer, which it turned out they were not—she was unable to choose a vaginal hysterectomy. She was, however, a great candidate for da Vinci surgery. 

“Dr. Goel didn’t think my anatomy was conducive for a vaginal hysterectomy,” Corby says. “She felt da Vinci wouldbe best for me considering my age, lifestyle and the ability to use a flexible scope in the da Vinci procedure.” 

LESS PAIN, BLOOD LOSS

Among the benefits of da Vinci are less pain and blood loss and reduced risk of infection. “Also, women have a shorter hospital stay, often going home the same day or the next,” Dr. Goel says. 

There’s also a lower risk for hernias. “And cosmetically, the results are very good,” she says. “The small incisions are not even visible after a couple of months.” They are only eight to 10 millimeters, which also means “there’s rarely a healing issue,” Dr. Goel says. 

Some conditions that Dr. Goel recommends are best managed with da Vinci surgery are heavy bleeding, fibroids, a prolapsed uterus, chronic pain, endometriosis, uterine cancer or cervical cancer.

Not only is Dr. Goel specially trained, so is her team. “You need good assistants and a trained, dedicated da Vinci team of nurses and technicians.”

“Dr. Goel was confident and reassuring,” says Corby. “She explained things well and provided excellent follow up.”

QUICKLY BACK IN THE GAME 

Returning quickly to everyday life is another positive. 

“Typical hysterectomies with big incisions require six weeks of recovery time,” Dr. Goel says. “With da Vinci, some go back to work in two weeks.” 

Corby realized many of those benefits. She was up early the Friday morning of her surgery—“I wanted an early time”—drove to Indianapolis, met with the anesthesiologist and was in surgery about four hours. 

“I felt pretty good when I woke up,” she recalls. And her mother, niece and a friend were there to give her emotional support. The next morning, she ate breakfast at the hospital, then went home and slept in the afternoon.

“I didn’t have a lot of appetite for about three days, but it was not because I was in pain,” she says. “I had some pain at times, but I didn’t take much pain medicine. And if I had abdominal pain, it probably was because I overdid it, so I would rest and it was okay. The pain was like a soreness but very tolerable.” 

During the next week, she says, “I was sleepy some, and I was content to lie around.”

THIEL: ‘I HIGHLY RECOMMEND IT’

She used her resting time to catch up on reading nursing journals and murder mysteries. She also enjoyed some television dramas—NCIS and Law and Order. 

Because she had moved the week before her surgery and hadn’t unpacked everything, she also tackled a few boxes. “I’d carry a couple of dishes and then go lay down.” 

Since she had a type of glue rather than stitches holding her incisions together, there were no sutures to be removed. “The glue wore off over time,” she says. 

Even though friends brought food, “I was able to manage on my own. I didn’t need any help,” Corby says. 

Of the da Vinci procedure, she says, “I highly recommend it. I have already told people about it.”