February 28, 2019
Marko Donaldson loves robots. When his colorectal surgeon, Nathan Smallwood, MD, offered to let him test-drive the latest in surgical robots, he jumped at the chance.
Donaldson, who has built a career on repairing robotic technology in the manufacturing, automotive and defense industry, was diagnosed with a rare form of kidney cancer, sarcomatoid renal cell carcinoma, in early January. Dr. Smallwood successfully removed a football-sized tumor that was perforating his colon.
"Due to the size of Marko's tumor, we were not able to remove the tumor robotically," said Dr. Smallwood. "We have to look at each patient individually and determine if robotic surgery is appropriate."
Robotic technology is available for a variety of surgical procedures including colon repair, hysterectomy, gall bladder removal, hernia repair and prostate cancer surgery. The robotic system provides advanced instrumentation and 3D views inside the body, and allows physicians to work around delicate structures safely.
"I'm excited to be able to see how the surgical robot assists physicians in complex surgeries close-up," said Donaldson. "When we use our knowledge of robotics — that opens us to endless possibilities. Robots help make our jobs easier and allow us to have more time to be productive."
Donaldson is easing back into work and just started immunotherapy cancer treatment.
"I'm living a charmed life. I am more aware of the moment and I feel so much better." Donaldson said.