Repairing hernia with robotics: An interview with Dr. Osayi
101.7 "The Point"' Phil Quinn's Interview with Dr. Sylvester Osayi
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Transcript of interview
Phil Quinn: What is your practice at Reid Health?
Dr. Osayi: I mostly do general surgery. And that's a pretty broad area. With general surgery, we do procedures in the office ranging from taking out a lipoma or a lump under the skin, to draining abscesses, to doing hernia surgeries, gallbladder surgeries, appendix surgeries. I even do colon (or colorectal) cancer and we do surgery for breast cancer also.
Quinn: So, when you say "general", that's really the case.
Osayi: Yes, it's really general.
Quinn: Let me ask about hernias in particular. I don't know if we describe it well. How do you describe what a hernia is?
Osayi: A hernia is; you could say it's a hole. It's a defect mostly on the abdominal wall (because it's coming from a general surgery standpoint, so we're looking more at the abdominal wall - the groin area). There's a hole where it's supposed to be closed. So, you have abdominal content, like the intestines or some of the fats covering the intestines sneaking through that hole and causing a bulge or causing pain. So, that's what a hernia is. It's something that's not supposed to be there - supposed to be closed but now you have an opening in that area.
Quinn: What are the different types of techniques or the different techniques in order to do that repair?
Osayi: There are different ways. One of the ways we could do hernia repair is using "open" technique. Which has been done for decades where we make a bigger incision over the area of the hernia, clean the area out, push the intestines back inside and then close the defect. And most of the time we reinforce it with a piece of mesh to help make the abdominal wall stronger and prevent the hernia from coming back. The other way we do this surgery is doing a minimally invasive technique. Which means small incisions to do this surgery, so we're not making bigger incisions like we typically do in the open technique.
Quinn: And I've got to think when you start looking at what those benefits of the minimal invasive surgery, a lot of that has to do with quicker recovery time.
Osayi: Right. There are a lot of benefits and that's why, when we can, I always try to push minimally invasive surgery. Because, first of all, you're making small incisions. We make the small incision, we put our camera in, put instruments in, and we're looking on the screen (the monitor) and we're doing the surgeries that we would typically do "open" and we're doing them with the small incision. So, with the small incision, the patient recovers faster. They have less pain. They need less pain medication (which is kind of a big issue right now). And patients have a faster return to work and they can go back to their normal activities. So, there's a lot of benefits and why we try to push minimally invasive surgery.
Quinn: We're joined with Dr. Sylvester Osayi. He is a general surgeon with Reid Health. And we're talking about hernias today. Reid Health does invest in newer technology - one of those is robotics. There's robotics that are helping with this type of surgery today.
Osayi: Absolutely! Reid Health has been really fantastic in terms of pushing the technology and being in the forefront of things. That was one of the things that drew me here. When I came here in 2016 to look at the place, first, I was really intrigued by how much they have for a small town. You expect, you know, not so much. But, I was really amazed by how much they have and it has been very beneficial to our patients here. So, Reid does have robotics surgery. They've been doing robotic surgery for many years. The GYN uses for hysterectomies and urology uses the robots for things like prostate cancer surgery or kidney surgery. But, now robotics is all over the country getting into general surgery and to have that ability at Reid is very beneficial to our patients here locally.
Quinn: Well, but look, you're never going to be able to replace a good surgeon, doesn't matter. They assist, that's the thing. There's nothing to be fearful of, right?
Osayi: There's nothing to be fearful of. I think that the actual best term to describe this is robotic assisted surgery. So, the robot is assisting the surgeon. The surgeon is still doing the surgery. So, the surgeon connects all of the instruments, like in laparoscopic surgery, he goes through a console and he moves the hands and does the surgery looking at the screen. You know, I can say some of the other benefits of this new technology as compared to just a standard laparoscopic surgery (which we've been doing for many years, too) is it has better visualization. The surgeon is looking at a screen of a 3D monitor so the surgeon can appreciate depth in addition to width and length. It gives a better appreciation of the surgical field and the robotic instruments have a better range of motion. The surgeon can do some more complex surgeries than they can do with a straight laparoscopic surgery. There is benefits to this and to be able to offer this at Reid - that's a big plus for our patients.
Quinn: If you [our listeners] have more questions about this, I'm sure you'd [Osayi] would be willing to answer them, but really start with your primary physician.
Osayi: Yes, you should start with your primary care physician. If you're having groin pain, groin bulge, belly button pain or bulging, or bulging from a previous surgery (called an incisional hernia) - if you have any of those, you need to be checked by a general surgeon. You need to talk to your primary care physician about referring you to us and we can evaluate you. Most patients will end up needing surgery for hernias because they can cause complications sometimes. We'd like you to get evaluated and we'll see what we can do for you.
Quinn: That's fantastic! ReidHealth.org if you want to find some more information about that surgery and also about how robotics is really changing the game when it comes to health care. Dr. Sylvester Osayi, continue in grace and thank you for being in our community. We love having you here.