Monday, July 28, 2014 - 3 Generations, 3 Techniques, Same Issue



COVINGTON - Gallbladder disease runs in both sides of 17-year-old Katelyn Capo’s family. Her paternal grandmother underwent surgery to remove the small, pear-shaped organ 30 years ago. The teen’s mother likewise had a cholecystectomy to remove her gallbladder a decade after that.

Katelyn received a similar diagnosis earlier this year before undergoing gallbladder surgery at St. Tammany Parish Hospital.

Her quick return to the softball field demonstrates how STPH’s da Vinci Si surgical robot is making surgery faster, less painful and virtually scarless. It also highlights the role of Covington general and vascular surgeon Dr. Surendra Purohit MD in embracing technology to benefit Northshore patients.

Katelyn’s grandmother’s traditional open surgery three decades ago involved a single large incision, several nights in the hospital and six-to-eight weeks of recovery, recalls Katelyn’s mother, Melynda Ard. The laparoscopic approach Dr. Purohit used 10 years later for Ard’s surgery involved four small incisions and four weeks of recovery time.

Dr. Purohit reappeared in the family’s life when he used STPH’s latest-generation da Vinci robot for Katelyn’s single-site gallbladder surgery, the first such use of the robot on the Northshore. The procedure required a tiny incision inside the navel that left no visible scar. Katelyn experienced little discomfort, and she returned to Franklinton High School within a few days. She was back to fielding softballs a week or two after that, her mother says.

“She missed very little time on the ball field,” Ard says. “It’s amazing to see her recovery time compared to earlier approaches.”

Single-site surgery is one of the several capabilities made possible by the unmatched optics and additional precision of STPH’s recently acquired da Vinci Si. Dr. Sunil Purohit MD — Dr. Surendra Purohit’s son — recorded another recent Northshore first in using the new robot to remove a tumor using its “firefly” imaging for detailed visualization of vascular tissue.

At 71, Dr. Purohit says he remains eager to learn new techniques that benefit patients and describes the da Vinci system as, “the future of surgery.”

“One day it will be used for most surgeries because of the system’s many advantages,” he says.

Mary Krentel, STPH director of surgery, says use of the da Vinci reflects Dr. Surendra Purohit’s dedication to continuously advancing his technique to benefit patients.

“He chooses it because it is good for the patient,” Krentel says.

For Ard, the combination of the new da Vinci system and Dr. Purohit’s expertise and gentle demeanor reassured her that Katelyn was getting the best possible care.

“I wanted the best for my child in every way, and that is what she got,” Ard says.


A full-service acute care facility committed to providing world-class healthcare and the latest technology, St. Tammany Parish Hospital delivers today’s life-improving procedures with the utmost care to area residents with emphasis on wellness, preventive care and disease management close to home. STPH is a self-supporting not-for-profit community hospital; it receives no tax funding.