“I had never been sick a day in my life,” said Donald Martinez, an active cyclist and swimmer. “But this spring, doctors told me I had cancer on my kidney.” Fortunately for Martinez, the Health Science Center had recruited Dipen Parekh, M.D., a urologic oncologist who arrived in 2006. Dr. Parekh is one of only a few surgeons in the country and one of a handful of fellowship-trained urologic oncologists in San Antonio who are experts with the da Vinci® Surgical System, a robot-like apparatus that allows surgeons to view kidney, bladder and prostate cancers in three dimensions and at 10 times the magnification of traditional surgery.
“It gives a remarkably clear view,” Dr. Parekh said. “This is important because we are trying to extract only the cancerous tissue and preserve the anatomy necessary for body functions.” Using the da Vinci® system,
Dr. Parekh successfully removed Martinez’s cancer this past April and Martinez was moving around his hospital room in a couple of days.
“I thank God, Dr. Parekh and the robot,” Martinez said.
Dr. Parekh has performed a large number of cases of robot-assisted laparoscopic surgery to remove prostate, bladder and kidney cancers. In several cases, he has saved patients’ kidneys. The introduction of robotics into the operating room eradicates a patient’s cancer while leaving less chance for side effects than conventional surgery.
Urology residents are also benefiting as Dr. Parekh teaches them how to use the system. Other uses of the robotic system include gynecological, general and heart surgery. In the future, more urologic oncologists such as Dr. Parekh will be able to perform surgery in this manner. For Donald Martinez and patients like him, that is good news indeed.