First Forrest General Patient Treated Using Da Vinci Xi Surgical System Recovers After Surgery
Danny McGee looks forward to celebrating several big milestones within the next few years. In 2024, just five years from now, he’ll be old enough to retire from his position as production manager at the Mississippi Department of Rehabilitation. McGee has a large family – 3 daughters, a son, and 5 grandchildren – which he enjoys spending his time with and helping them celebrate special occasions of their own. These are just a couple of the reasons why being diagnosed with prostate cancer was so overwhelming for him and his family.
McGee wasn’t feeling sick when he went to visit his primary care physician for a regular yearly check-up.
He said, “I wasn’t feeling sick. I went in for some blood work one day, and my primary doctor said, ‘Your levels are up. We’re going to wait 3 more weeks and check it again, and if it’s up, we’re going to have to refer you to Hattiesburg Clinic.’ When the levels were up again, she referred me to Hattiesburg Clinic.”
The levels McGee refers to are prostate-specific antigens (PSA). PSA levels under 4 nanograms per milliliter of blood are considered normal. A patient’s chance of having prostate cancer increases as PSA levels increase. It is common for patients with early-stage prostate cancer to experience no symptoms. Once prostate cancer produces signs or symptoms, like frequent urination or traces of blood in urine, it is usually found to be in the late stages.
Sean Douglas, MD, urologist at Hattiesburg Clinic, diagnosed and treated McGee’s prostate cancer at Forrest General Hospital using the state-of-the-art da Vinci® Xi™ Surgical System by Intuitive. The da Vinci Surgical System is a complex robot that assists physicians in minimally invasive surgical procedures.
“The first day I found out about the cancer, it was kind of overwhelming, but Dr. Douglas said, ‘I’m going to take care of you.’ That was comforting, and after that day, I didn’t really think about it anymore until the day I had the surgery,” said McGee.
Douglas performed a robotic prostatectomy to remove the cancerous prostate. The robotic prostatectomy is less traumatic than the tradition open prostatectomy, involving significantly smaller incisions, less pain, easier recovery, and better patient outcomes. The robot allows the surgeon to perform fine computer-controlled movements. This precision protects the patients’ delicate prostate nerves that control bladder and sexual function, damage to which would often be unavoidable during open prostatectomy.
McGee was the first patient at Forrest General to have a procedure using this revolutionary new system.
“Any surgery that is performed laparoscopically can be performed with a robot. Da Vinci benefits our patients through shorter hospital stays and enhanced cautery ability. The improved range of motion allows the physician better control of bleeding, which is safer for patients. More advanced procedures can be done this way, so having a more complex problem does not mean it has to be treated with a more invasive procedure,” said Douglas.
In addition to urologic procedures, Forrest General will soon offer options for gynecological and general surgical procedures using the da Vinci XI Surgical System.
Around an hour after surgery, McGee told his daughters that he was ready to get up and start walking. He said, “I didn’t have any pain. It was just a little where I had the surgery. I didn’t even have to take any pain pills. I got them, but I didn’t have to take them.
I feel fine now. I’m just taking it easy.”
McGee will have a follow-up visit in March to check his PSA levels again, but he’s confident that he is now cancer-free.
“Dr. Douglas says my levels should be at zero. It feels really good to have this burden lifted. When Dr. Douglas told me I wouldn’t have any pain, I didn’t have any pain. When he said he was going to take care of me, he did.”
Like many patients working through the mental and emotional strain of cancer, McGee says his family and faith helped him on this journey. Since his diagnosis, he spends time in prayerful meditation every morning and every afternoon. After the procedure, he recovered at his aunt’s home surrounded by his family.
He said, “My aunt wouldn’t let me do a whole lot. She did spoil me when I was there.”
For more information about the da Vinci XI Surgical System at Forrest General, visit forrestgeneral.com/davinci.
CAPTION: Danny McGee (left) with his physician, Sean Douglas, MD (right)