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El Camino Hospital Media Releases

Doctors at El Camino Hospital Perform Unprecedented Surgery on Highly Developed Case of Endometriosis

Mountain View, CA - June 15, 2010 - Surgeons at El Camino Hospital on Wednesday successfully undertook an unprecedented procedure using minimally invasive techniques to treat, as one doctor put it, "one of the most advanced cases of endometriosis I have ever seen."

The patient, a 36-year-old woman from Portland, Ore., had lost almost all of the function in her left kidney due to severe endometriosis that had involved her major organs, nerves and blood vessels, leading to crippling pain and swelling in her leg. Managing the pain with powerful pain medications, she was told she would have to live that way for the rest of her life--until she was referred to Dr. Camran Nezhat, who collaborated with Dr. Frank Lai and Dr. Ramin Beygui at El Camino Hospital.

Using El Camino Hospital's state-of-the-art surgical equipment and expertise, the team removed her damaged kidney and treated the endometriosis that had extended into her kidney, uterus, ovaries, bladder, bowel, ureter, blood vessels and nerves. The surgeons collaborated on the operation, with Dr. Beygui, a renowned cardiovascular surgeon and medical director of El Camino Hospital's cardiac surgery program, collaborating on the vascular portion of the surgery; Dr. Lai, a leading urologist who specializes in robotic and laparoscopic surgery, performing the kidney removal and urology portion; and Dr. Nezhat, one of the world's foremost experts on the treatment of endometriosis and infertility, performing the endometriosis removal.

"This was an extremely difficult and intensive case, but the surgery went perfectly. I am pleased with the outcome and foresee a rapid recovery for the patient," said Dr. Nezhat. "It underscores the importance of seeking a second opinion and being an advocate for your own health. Women who are suffering from endometriosis should know that there are solutions available."

The high level of collaboration between doctors at El Camino is unique to hospitals, and in this case was key to making the procedure a success, doctors said. "The complex nature of this case, in particular, required a great deal of coordination between each of us," noted Dr. Nezhat.

Doctors also highlighted the state-of-the-art surgical equipment, most notably the da Vinci Robotic Surgical System, which was instrumental to this procedure. The device enables surgeons to perform complex and delicate procedures with unmatched precision, resulting in quicker recovery and less pain, scarring and chance of infection. "The da Vinci robotic system provides excellent visualization and highly precise articulation, which was important in such a complex case as this one," said Dr. Nezhat.

According to the NIH, nearly five million women in the United States suffer from endometriosis, an often debilitating and painful condition caused by the abnormal growth of the endometrial lining of the uterus. The condition often leads to infertility, with 30 to 40 percent of women with endometriosis experiencing difficulty conceiving a child.

"Not only can minimally invasive surgical treatment relieve the pain that patients with endometriosis experience, but in a majority of cases pregnancy can be achieved once the condition is brought under control," said Dr. Nezhat.

Dr. Nezhat was the first to treat extensive endometriosis of the ureter, bladder, bowel, liver and diaphragm laparoscopically, and invented many of the techniques now widely used. He also was the first to demonstrate the tremendous potential of video laparoscopy, and has taught the technique to hundreds of surgeons from all over the world. Most recently, he was honored by the Endometriosis Foundation of America for his contributions to the field of minimally invasive and robotic surgery.