Melissa Roth Recovers From Hysterectomy Performed Robotically
Melissa Roth was 1,100 miles away from home when the pain struck. “I was in Minnesota visiting family, and I felt abdominal pain,” says Roth, 44, of Northampton, Pa. A bout of diverticulitis caused the soreness, but doctors found something more serious – a 9-centimeter mass on Roth’s right ovary. “I was scared it was cancer,” she says.
Once back in Northampton, Roth turned to social media for help. “At the time I had a doggie day-care business with a Facebook page,” she says. “I shared my health experience on my business’ wall and asked for a good doctor in the area. Many people told me about Dr. Marty Martino.”
So Roth called his office. Three days later, she and her husband, Steve, sat down with Martino, a gynecologic oncology surgeon at Lehigh Valley Health Network. “He mentioned robotic surgery,” Roth says. “It was the first I’d ever heard of it.”
The da Vinci® Robotic Surgery System allows surgeons like Martino to perform hysterectomies and other procedures through tiny incisions, resulting in fewer complications, less pain, faster recovery time and smaller scars.
“Dr. Martino showed us charts, studies and statistics about how this surgery was the best option,” Roth says. “He sat with us for 45 minutes. I could tell he really cared. He also told us the mass wasn’t cancerous, and we were relieved.”
At one time, someone like Roth, who had prior abdominal surgeries, would have required open surgery instead. “That’s because visibility is limited in traditional minimally invasive surgery,” Martino says. “Robotic surgery is different. It offers high-definition, 3-D imaging that allows for greater clarity.”
Roth had her hysterectomy in November 2012. “It started around 3 p.m.,” she says. “By 6 p.m. I was out of surgery, and by 9 p.m. I was at home in bed. It was a quicker recovery than anything I had in the past.” The robotic surgery removed the mass, and further testing confirmed she was cancer-free.
Soon Roth was back online, checking a message board filled with posts from other women who have had hysterectomies. “I read how some had so much pain afterward and how they had weeks of recovery,” Roth says. “It made me know I made the right choice.”
Now Roth, who met her husband online 13 years ago, has returned to baking, caring for her two dogs and volunteering for Meals on Wheels. She is grateful for her experience at Lehigh Valley Health Network. “Dr. Martino was great, and the nurses were phenomenal,” she says. “I was amazed by robotic surgery. If you have to have surgery, it’s the way to go.”