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Karla Delair's Story

Karla Delair’s Gallbladder Surgery Marks a First for Massachusetts

When Karla Delair woke from her gallbladder removal surgery, she naturally expected to be in some kind of discomfort. After all, she had undergone abdominal surgery, and as a Registered Nurse, she knew that it could be relatively long and uncomfortable recovery period. It was much to her surprise when her nurse asked her how much pain she was in, and she replied, “None whatsoever.” Even her surgical nurse couldn’t believe it, and after asking again several times, Karla agreed to take one medication – an ibuprofen and nothing more.

Something else that Karla didn’t immediately recognize was that she was a first – the first robotic single-port cholecystectomy, or gallbladder removal, in Massachusetts, performed at Berkshire Medical Center by surgeon Andrew Lederman, MD, of Berkshire Surgical Associates. Dr. Lederman used BMC’s daVinci Surgical System, a robotic-assisted platform that is used for general, urologic, gynecologic and thoracic surgeries.

Karla’s gallbladder problem had started three years earlier, when she had an ultrasound for another condition, and was told that she had a “porcelain gallbladder,” which is a gallbladder that is highly calcified, likely due to gall stones. And with that came a risk of gallbladder cancer, but a very low risk, or so she thought at the time. In 2012, she discovered that her cancer risk was actually much higher, and decided to see a surgeon.

Dr. Lederman recommended that Karla have the gallbladder removed, and set up her surgery appointment for April of 2012. After the procedure, she was told there was no cancer and she could return to normal activities in six weeks, which is standard recovery for abdominal surgery. But Karla found that there was nothing standard about her recovery.

“I had no pain,” she said. “I had no tightness, no stiffness. Immediately following surgery, I was able to use my abdominal muscles to sit up in bed on post-op. I felt no pain, and had one tiny, tiny incision in my navel. Over the next several weeks, I felt so good I had to remind myself not to do the things Dr. Lederman had instructed me to avoid. Dr. Lederman told me I could walk for exercise, and I honestly felt like I could return to the gym and spinning classes.”

The former BMC and Fairview Registered Nurse says that while she’s impressed that she was a ‘first,’ what she’ll remember most about her single port surgery is how fast she recovered. “It was the best experience,” she said. “It was like I never had surgery at all. If someone I knew needed this same surgery, I would immediately advise them to go see Dr. Lederman and strongly recommend the single port robotic surgery.”

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