Healthier Together

Winter 2018 issue
A patient’s story: Taking the hightech surgery route

A patient’s story: Taking the hightech surgery route


Garry Campbell enjoys being in the outdoors. The retired program manager from Amissville, Virginia, hikes, golfs and volunteers on nature projects.

Things changed in early 2017, when Campbell experienced painful flareups from diverticulitis that kept him from his hobbies. Medication no longer controlled his abdominal pain. So, Campbell researched surgical options.

He learned that high-tech robotic surgery, available through Novant Health UVA Health System, could not only fix his issue, but get him back to his routine activities faster. This minimally invasive method means quicker recovery times for many patients.

“There were a lot of activities I like to do that I was unable to do,” said Campbell, who is 66. Following surgery, his quality of life quickly improved. Campbell was back outside within three days of his procedure, walking comfortably through the woods near his house.

“That beats two years of being really quite stricken with this,” Campbell said. “So I’m very satisfied at this point.”

High-tech, high-touch

Campbell’s research into his care choices led him to a nearby option: Ken Henson, MD, a general surgeon with Northern Virginia Surgical Specialists.

With diverticulitis, pouches of the colon wall become inflamed. Campbell learned he would need colorectal surgery, where part of the colon is removed and repositioned. And he learned he could have a robotic-assisted procedure using the da Vinci Surgical System.

But what really sold Campbell was hearing Dr. Henson’s preference for using the da Vinci over other methods: “I’m more comfortable if my surgeon is more comfortable.”

For Dr. Henson, the technology makes for more precise surgical movement, faster suturing to minimize bleeding and a more detailed view of the procedure, thanks to the 3-D console surgeons use.

“Plus, patients benefit by having this method available here, as a local option,” Dr. Henson said of Novant Health UVA Health System. “Our technology and expertise here are comparable to other systems, and you get the feel of a smaller hospital with a more personal touch.”

Up and moving

Campbell walked the hospital corridors shortly following his procedure. Not long after that, he resumed hiking with his wife, Diane — and lots of golfing.

“I was really amazed at how quick the recovery was,” he said. “As long as I maintain my reasonable weight and a high-fiber diet, I shouldn’t have any more issues with this.”

What also impressed him was the quality of care he received.

“Any questions that I had were immediately addressed,” Campbell said. “With Dr. Henson, it was very reassuring. You just could not have asked for a better situation. I consider myself very fortunate to have had it.” •