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A Grandmother is Cancer Free After Robotic Surgery Performed by Sam Bhayani, MD

April 4, 2013

Washington University urologists, Sam Bhayani, MD, and Brian Benway, MD use robotic surgery to treat kidney cancer

Washington University urologists, Sam Bhayani, MD, and Brian Benway, MD use robotic surgery to treat kidney cancer

Doctors suspected the small tumor found in Mary White’s left kidney was cancer. But now the grandmother from Farmington, Missouri is cancer free after Washington University surgeons at Barnes-Jewish West County Hospital (BJWCH) performed a partial nephrectomy with the da Vinci robot.

Above, Pangolin Pictures films Dr. Sam Bhayani as he explains how the da Vinci robot operates. The footage aired in January as part of a National Geographic special.
White allowed National Geographic to film her surgery as a part of a television special on advancements in medicine, space and other areas. The special aired January 11
on the National Geographic Channel.

Click here to watch the video.

“I’m very happy about the outcome. I think
we were able to save over 95% of her kidney. Essentially, we were able to keep both of her kidneys,” said Dr. Bhayani.

“Dr. Bhayani seems to think that he got everything to where I won’t have to take any chemo or radiation and that it’s cured. I feel very relieved. I can’t believe how good I feel right now,” said White.


Barnes-Jewish Hospital (BJH) has led the region in use of robotic surgical technology since 2007. BJWCH has been offering robotic surgery since 2010. Sam Bhayani, MD,
Washington University urologist and chief medical officer at Barnes-Jewish West County Hospital (BJWCH), and his colleagues have pioneered use of the
robot for kidney cancer surgery.

Rather than a major incision in traditional open surgeries, da Vinci technology allows for small incisions which are based on the robot’s arms, two of which hold surgical instruments while a third is a camera allowing a surgeon seated at a nearby computer console to see inside the body. While the patient lies on the operating room table, the surgeon controls the arms holding surgical instruments steady inside the body.

“We are so pleased to be able to offer our community complex robotic surgery,” Dr. Bhayani says. “The technology is transforming our ability to treat patients. The future is now.”

Members of the surgery team included: Brian Benway, MD, Washington University urologist, Marsha Czech, CRNA, Leighann Schmidt, RN, da Vinci resource nurse, and Raven Casey, scrub technician.

Image: Left to right, Marsha Czech, CRNA; Leighann Schmidt, RN, da Vinci resource nurse; Dr. Bhayani; and Raven Casey, scrub tech, are crucial members of the da Vinci surgery team at BJWCH.         

Robotic surgeries at Barnes-Jewish West County Hospital

Barnes-Jewish West County Hospital surgeons are using the robot for prostate cancer, kidney tumor removal, colorectal cancer, cholecystectomy, pelvic floor repair and procedures on the esophagus and stomach. Future uses include pancreatic cancer removal and thoracic surgery, including lobectomy. BJH also is expanding the use into colorectal cancers, head and neck cancers, the Whipple procedure for pancreatic cancer and thoracic surgeries.