Florida Man Comes to UW Hospital for Robotic Surgery

Madison, Wisconsin - Earle Brown didn't travel to Wisconsin from his Florida home for the Wisconsin weather – he wanted his robotic esophageal surgery done by the surgeon who has done more of them than anyone else.


"I did a lot of research and checked him out thoroughly," says Brown, 80, an investment advisor from Dunedin, Fla.


Brown, who had his robotic esophagectomy at the University of Wisconsin Hospital and Clinics in October, becoming the first patient at UW to have the surgery. Brown did research into whether he'd do better having the cancerous segment of his esophagus removed with conventional surgery or by a surgical robot. He learned that conventional surgery would involve breaking one of his ribs, two large incisions, greater chance of infection, and weeks of recovery. With the robotic surgery, he has a three-inch incision ion his chest and spent just over a week in the hospital. 


His oncologists at H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa recommended surgeon Dr. Kenneth Meredith, who practiced in Florida before joining the University of Wisconsin surgery faculty on Oct. 1.


Dr. Meredith has done two more of the surgeries at UW, and has two more scheduled. Overall, he estimates that he has done about 160 of the surgeries.


"There are a handful of surgeons that have the appropriate skills to perform this operation, and I have the largest experience with this surgery to date," says Meredith, who rarely recommends using open surgery to remove cancer from the esophagus. 


A study published in the "Journal of Clinical Oncology" last year followed 89 patients from Meredith's Florida practice who had robotic esophagectomy following chemotherapy or radiation and found that it was safe and effective.


In the procedure, robotic arms are inserted into small incisions to remove the cancerous portion of the esophagus. The shortened esophagus is then reattached to the stomach, which is pulled into the chest cavity. Brown, like most patients, had chemotherapy and radiation before surgery to shrink the tumor.


Meredith is also an expert in robotic approaches to pancreatic cancer surgery and other gastrointestinal malignancies. He recently performed the hospital's first robotic removal of the adrenal gland on a patient from Florida who traveled specifically for Dr. Meredith's robotic expertise.


A graduate of the University of Louisville School of Medicine, Meredith did a residency in general surgery at the University of Wisconsin Hospital and Clinics before joining the Moffitt Cancer Center

Date Published: 01/30/2014

News tag(s):  cancerrobotickenneth l meredith

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