Robotic surgery, hormone replacement Rotary topics

By: Jeannine LeJeune
CROWLEY – If there was a simple message that could be derived from Tuesday’s program at the Rotary Club of Crowley’s meeting, it is that Crowley’s medical community is on the forefront of technology thanks in large part to doctors like John Gonzales and Michelle Owens.

The duo, who practice together, spoke about robotic procedures and their benefits as well as new advancements in hormone replacement for both men and women.

Gonzales spoke first focusing on the da Vinci Surgery robot, which he and Owens are certified to use and do so now at American Legion after the hospital purchased one for the hospital.

“It’s a tremendous investment,” he said. “This is a leap forward, and its only going to continue to move forward.”

The robot is in procedures to treat a range of conditions across the country including bladder cancer, endometriosis, kidney disorders, throat cancer, prostate cancer, uterine fibroids and uterine prolapse. These surgeries, along with others, are done with minimal invasion thanks to the robot, which allows for patients to spend less time in the hospital and also has less recovery time.

The robot is a progressive step forward, as Gonzales pointed out, particularly in surgeries that he and Owens use it in, like hysterectomies. Traditional hysterectomies included the surgery, a two-day hospital stay (on average) and about six weeks at home recovering. With the robot, the surgery lasts slightly longer and the setup time is more, but patients can be sent home almost immediately and, depending on what job they have, some can return to work in two weeks.

“It’s a more efficient use of our time,” said Gonzales.

Owens and Gonzales, the only two locally certified surgeons, say that other surgeons have expressed interest in being certified and trained to use the robot which could open the door to more surgeries being performed with the robot outside of the two doctor’s parameters.

The hospital and both doctors hope to put the robot on display soon that way more in the community can learn about its features and benefits as well.

Gonzales then turned to Owens who focused her time on hormone replacement, in particular, pellet hormone therapy.

A common misconception, according to Owens, that many face is that women are the only ones that go through a lot of changes. But, the doctor points out that there is menopause and there is andropause, which affects males.

“Yes these things are a part of life,” said Owens, “but it’s a part of life that can be helped.”

The pellets are specifically compounded to the patient and are effective all day everyday and there is no pill to remember to take, which are two of the biggest perks of the method of hormone replacement.

Also when people complain of the typical symptoms–decreased energy levels, decreased desires to exercise–some may not realize that they are actually a potential candidate.

Recent literature is looking deeper at testosterone levels, for example and thus typical normal levels may not be the patient’s normal.

The pellet dissolves in the system and doesn’t pass through the liver, more added bonuses.

The steps of the pellet therapy are also rather simple. A potential patient has their blood work done and if the pellet is used it is put in. One month later blood work will be done as a check-up and then after two months, the doctor will meet with the patient to make sure it is having a positive effect. Four months in, a new pellet is put in.

Typically, according to Gonzales, a pellet is replaced three or four times a year for the first year and then reservoirs begin to be built in the body and a pellet may need to be replaced only twice a year after.

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