Bianca Castro

Robotic Surgery Helps Cancer Patient Stand Tall

Receiving a cancer diagnosis can be devastating but a local woman was determined not to let it ruin her life.

Doctors found a tumor in her spine, when she was 21-years-old. Now, five years later, she has her life back, thanks to new technology.

Adrianna Mogollon says what she thought were just aches and pains in her back grew into something much worse.

"I kind of had this pain in my back that just developed into a persistent thing and it just kept getting worse and worse. Finally, I lost feeling below my waist and I knew something was wrong," says Mogollon. Doctors found a tumor pressing down on her spinal cord.

Emergency surgery removed most of the tumor but for getting to the remaining cancer tissue and rebuilding her spine, she went to Dr. Isador Lieberman, orthopedic surgeon at Texas Back Institute.

Dr. Lieberman is one of the pioneers in the use of robotic technology for spinal surgery. He uses a robot in the operation room to implant devices or screws in the spine, exactly where he wants them.

He maps his plan ahead of time by using a 3D software that allows him to manipulate the spine before ever operating on the patient.

"It's very much like a pilot flying a plane. Before he gets on the plane, he figures out the weather, the payload, the fuel, he takes that plan, he charts that plan. That's effectively exactly what we are doing now," says Dr. Lieberman.

He used robotics to stabilize Mogollon's spine during an operation that normally would last hours.

Her surgery lasted thirty minutes, meaning less time under anesthesia, less blood loss, less risk for complications and a faster recovery.

With the tumor gone, and her cancer treatment ongoing, Mogollon is back on her feet and standing tall in her fight against cancer.

"I don't think I would be doing what I am doing today without everything that is holding me stable in my back," says Mogollon.

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