Robotic surgery performed at Abu Dhabi’s Sheikh Shakhbout Medical City (SSMC). Photos: supplied
An elderly woman with severe obesity and endometrial cancer is now disease-free following minimally invasive diagnostic and robotic surgical techniques at one of the UAE’s largest hospitals for serious and complex care.
Endometrial cancer, also known as uterine cancer, occurs in the layers of cells that make up the lining of the uterus, called the endometrium. Globally, it is the sixth most common cancer in women and the 15th most common cancer overall. When diagnosed early, endometrial cancer is treatable.
In the case mentioned above, the patient was diagnosed with cancer after experiencing postmenopausal bleeding. She was referred to Abu Dhabi Sheikh Shakhbout Medical City (SSMC) from another hospital for further treatment.
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Subsequently, SSMC specialists performed a sentinel lymph node biopsy (SLNB) to detect the presence and spread of cancer cells. This eliminated the need for the patient to undergo lymphadenectomy, a procedure that involves surgically removing and examining lymph nodes for cancer. This procedure often poses risks such as infections, nerve damage, and thromboembolic events.
Dr Mathebele Makwela, consultant obstetrics and gynecology at SSMC, said the patient was clinically severely obese, which increased the risk associated with cancer treatment.
“However, sentinel lymph node biopsy helped us accurately assess the spread of cancer without subjecting the patient to the potential complications associated with traditional lymphadenectomy.”
Dr Mathebele Makwela
The patient then underwent a robotic-assisted laparoscopic hysterectomy with bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy, which involved removal of the uterus, fallopian tubes, and both ovaries to remove all cancer cells and prevent the possibility of recurrence.
“Our robotic-assisted hysterectomy further ensured complete removal of the affected tissue. Our approach throughout this case was to minimize any risk to the patient by adopting highly precise, minimally invasive procedures. She was discharged two days after surgery,” Dr. Makwela explained of the procedures that helped reduce surgical complications and improve recovery.
Post-surgical diagnosis showed that the patient’s lymph nodes were negative, confirming that none of the draining lymph nodes contained cancer. The patient only required localized vaginal brachytherapy or radiation to kill any cancer cells that might still persist.
After the treatment, the patient expressed her gratitude to the SSMC team. “I cannot express the sense of relief I feel today. It was not an easy process, but I am grateful to the doctors and staff at SSMC who showed understanding and compassion, which made me confident that I was in good hands. “I am filled with gratitude for this second chance at life.”
The entire process was carried out under the guidance of the SSMC multidisciplinary tumor board, involving the departments of gynecologic oncology, medical oncology, radiation oncology, radiology and pathology. Collaborating, specialists were able to identify the best treatment route and eliminate the chances of recurrence.
Dr. Muhieddine Seoud
Dr. Muhieddine Seoud, chair of the department of obstetrics and gynecology at SSMC, added: “This treatment approach represents the heart of our mission to provide the highest quality care to our patients. Providing patients with definitive answers to their health problems requires expert-led analysis, state-of-the-art facilities and cutting-edge technological equipment, enabling early detection of disease and avoidance of costs for the patient. At SSMC, we are proud to be at the forefront of medical innovation and continue to strive for the highest standards of healthcare.”
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