My OHSU Robotics Story: Mai Lee

Mai LeeI was having some pain in my abdomen. Tests showed it was an ovarian cyst. It was large; the normal size of an ovary is about three centimeters, and the cyst was eight centimeters.

It had to be removed, either through major abdominal surgery, which would involve longer recovery time and a risk of bleeding, or one of the latest treatments that OHSU offered: laparoscopic surgery using the da Vinci surgical system, a robotic-assisted type of surgery.

Even though the laparoscopic procedure was newer and hadn’t been around as long, my husband and I had talked about having kids, and there was a better chance of preserving my ovary if we did the robot-assisted surgery.

Dr. Hatfield explained both in detail and provided all the information we needed to make our decision. I kept coming to see her with a list of questions—we’d laugh about it—but she took the time to answer every one.  I felt well-prepared.

The surgery saved my ovary, and the recovery went well; I went to work the following week. Along my abdomen, I have a few small scars, but that’s it. Now I have a baby, and I know it’s from that ovary.

This is why: Shortly after I had my surgery, we realized I had a cyst on my other ovary, though not as large. I was going to have surgery to remove it. The day of my surgery, I did all the necessary blood tests and screenings, and was all ready, when Dr. Hatfield came in and stopped everything. “We’re not going to do this surgery. You’re pregnant,” she said.  I gave birth in December.

Since then, with the hormonal changes of pregnancy, the cyst has shrunk a little, but we’re keeping an eye on it. If I have to have another surgery, I wouldn’t hesitate to go with a robotic-assisted procedure again.