Innovative surgery a first for county's Russellville Hospital
Doctors at Russellville Hospital performed an innovative medical procedure this week that usually takes place only at larger, metropolitan hospitals.
Dr. Andrew Pritchard, a urologist from Florence, and Dr. William Wilkinson, a general surgeon from Russellville, performed a laparoscopic nephrectomy at the local facility.
During the procedure, small incisions are made at four key points in the abdominal area to enable insertion of instruments and a miniature camera. The camera is attached to a monitor that surgeons use to view their work.
In this instance, the kidney was removed from the patient.
In the past, kidney operations have required large cuts and longer periods of recovery time.
"It is better than open surgery," Wilkinson said.
The doctors removed the kidney from a cancer patient Monday. Because they were able to keep the organ intact, other doctors will be able to examine the diseased kidney.
Pritchard, a urologist at Eliza Coffee Memorial Hospital in Florence, coordinated the operation with Wilkinson and hospital officials.
"It was a well-planned event," Wilkinson said. "We basically practiced big city medicine here in Russellville."
The two doctors had performed the procedure in the past, but it had never been done in Russellville.
Pritchard said laparoscopic surgeries have been done for several years to remove gall bladders but the procedure on kidneys is relatively new.
"The hospital has been very accommodating in getting the equipment needed so that we could move in this direction," Pritchard said.
Wilkinson, who along with Pritchard grew up in Russellville, said many local residents still do not understand the type of care that is available to them at Russellville Hospital.
"This is a modern hospital that allows us to keep up with other areas," he said.
"People can get the care they need here, rather than having to travel to other places for the same kinds of procedures."