If you needed surgery to survive and you had the option of getting that surgery without any incisions you'd choose that right? Nancy Naeve Brown introduces you to a Tea man who loved being one of the first patients to get a new scarless procedure that saved his life at Avera McKennan.
Harlan Phelps from Tea is on his way back to his fighting weight after fighting the worse pain he's ever had. Last summer (2011) he started noticing he couldn't eat, but was packing on the pounds. It got to the point right around Christmas 2011 he had to go to the ER.
"They asked what my pain level was and I jokingly said 8. I would never say 10 because I'd never given birth, but 4 or 5 hours later I was screaming 10, "Harlan explains.
He was diagnosed with acute pancreatitis. Avera Gastroenterologist Dr. Steve Condron says the pancreas becomes inflamed from gallstones getting lodged in the ducts that run to and from the pancreas. It can be life threatening, and makes patients extremely sick.
"The gland itself started to digest and we ended up with large fluid accumulation around the pancreatic bed. That fluid accumulation developed an infection within it, "Dr. Condron with Avera Medical Group Gastroenterolgy said.
Harlan needed to get that fluid out. Dr. Condron performed a pancreatic necrosectomy, but Avera is the only place in the state to offer this kind of surgery without having to open the patient up. In fact Harlan didn't have any incision. Dr. Condron used what's known as NOTES which stands for Natural Orifice Transluminal Endoscopic Surgery, a new technique that allows the surgeon to use, in Harlan's case, his mouth to get to his abdomen.
"We go in and identify where that fluid collection is by using endoscope ultra sound. Place a needle within collection and once we know we are securely in there we place a guide wire through the gastric wall, we dilate the tract open and we can actually climb into the infected cyst debris it, wash it out and put a stent across the area so we can go back in easily. We've gone in several times and removed fluid," Dr. Condron said.
It was a no brainer when Harlan found out he was going to the 3rd person at Avera McKennan and Sioux Falls to have this type of procedure done for a pancreatic necrosectomy.
"Yeah, I'm excited! I don't mind being a guinea pig. Anything to not, I've never had a surgery in my life and I don't want any scar tissue and this way it was a clean procedure. I wake up afterwards and had a sore throat but otherwise I was fine.
Better than fine. He is feeling better, his prognosis is better than ever and he won't be scared for life.
The source of Harlan's problems is his gallbladder. He is getting that taken out laparoscopically and Nancy will be in the operating room for the surgery and bring you that story in May.