First In Colorado to Perform Cutting-Edge Robotic Liver Procedure

(Englewood, Colorado)  Liver cancer patients in Colorado now have a highly specialized alternative when it comes to surgery. The Center for Diseases of Liver and Pancreas at Swedish Medical Center is the first in Colorado to offer them the option of robotic liver resections.

2013 Barry Staver, www.barrystaver.com

“I feel as though this is a natural next step in the commitment as demonstrated by our Center for Diseases of the Liver and Pancreas.  We have a multidisciplinary approach to the treatment of benign and malignant disorders of the liver and this stands as a great example of bringing new technology in the appropriate timing and circumstance for the benefit of the patient while maintaining adherence to best treatment guidelines and outcomes,” says surgeon Eric Kortz, M.D.

Kortz is currently the only surgeon in the state that uses the Da Vinci surgical robot to perform this procedure.

Liver resections remove part of the liver containing cancer. With the robot, the operating surgeon has complete control during surgery offering safety for the dissection through tissues. “Robotics offers an extension of the minimally invasive approach for liver resection to more of our patients than our standard laparoscopic procedures due to increased operative maneuverability and increased safety,” explains Kortz.

The procedure also offers patients significant advantages to postoperative pain and speed of recovery.   “The benefits of minimally invasive procedures reduce overall physiological stress on the patient during operation and recovery,” says Kortz, “I certainly feel that the future of liver resection will involve robotic decision making.”

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About Swedish Medical Center (www.SwedishHospital.com)
Swedish Medical Center in Englewood, Colorado, part of HealthONE, serves as the Rocky Mountain Region’s referral center for Level 1 Trauma, neurotrauma and as the region’s only Joint Commission certified Comprehensive Stroke Center, a recognized leader in the most advanced stroke care. Swedish offers patients the highest quality care and the most advanced technologies and treatments in nearly every medical specialty and is an eight time winner of the National Research Corporation Consumer Choice Award and a Top 100 Hospital recognized by Reuters. An acute care hospital with 368 licensed beds, Swedish is located in the south metro Denver area where it has been a proud member of the community for more than 100 years. Annually, Swedish cares for more than 200,000 patients with a team of 2,000 dedicated employees, 500 volunteers and more than 1,300 physicians.

Restoring Health Robotically

Ramona Olson has always chosen the healthier route in life. She exercises often, eats balanced and nutritious meals, never smokes and rarely drinks. So, when the 56-year old administrative assistant was told by the doctor that she had cancer, it just didn’t make sense. “I felt let down by my body and good habits,” explains Olson.


In October 2011, Olson was diagnosed with stage 2 endometrial cancer. Women over the age of 50 who haven’t gone through menopause can be at a higher risk of getting this form of cancer. Weeks before her diagnosis, Olson was having abnormal stomach pains and started hemorrhaging. A quick trip to the ER changed her life forever. “I was petrified, I had a complete meltdown, I thought I was going to die,” says Olson. Both of Olson’s parents had passed away from the disease and she wasn’t going to let it take her own.

Dr. Kevin Davis, Olson’s oncologist helped calm her fears and anxieties about the diagnosis and recommended that surgery be the immediate option to get rid of her cancer.  “I felt so comfortable and so reassured that I was going be ok,” says Olson. Davis suggested a full hysterectomy and Olson was the perfect candidate to receive her surgery robotically because her cancer was in its early stages. “Having robotic surgery is less invasive and gives the patient a quicker recovery time and better results,” explains Davis.

The procedure Olson underwent is called, da Vinci Hysterectomy.  This state-of-the-art surgery is designed to give the patient less pain, less risk of infection and minimal scarring.  The 3D technology allows a doctor to control the tiny instruments with a magnified view giving them ultimate control of movement inside the body.

Olson was amazed at the outcome of her surgery after returning to work only a week and half after surgery. “I don’t know if I would have done this well if I didn’t have this technology and hadn’t seen Dr. Davis. I feel pretty darn good,” says Olson.  After recently completing radiation her cancer is now in remission. Olson says she has a new appreciation for life and is glad she came to Swedish. “I feel very blessed. From the moment we walked in there, it was just a great experience and now my cancer is gone.”