Carrie Lintner, 31, was concerned that radiation treatments to fight her second battle with Hodgkin's Lymphoma would hinder her chances to get pregnant. "Immediately I started to wonder if I have to undergo radiation, what about a family? How am I going to have kids? That was definitely always one of my hopes is to have kids."
In an effort to preserve her fertility, Ms. Lintner's ovaries were relocated behind her uterus to shield them from the radiation treatments, a process called ovarian transposition.
Surgeon Arnold Advincula of the University of Michigan used laparoscopic robotic surgery that is more precise and easier on the patient and the surgeon than conventional procedures. ''The major advantages are the fact that you're utilizing three-dimensional visualization when you're operating," he says, "which is a huge advantage to the surgeon." He adds, "Your instruments now move like the wrist on your hand. They have multiple degrees of freedom in terms of their movement, so it allows you to be able to perform complex tasks without much difficulty."
Robotic surgery gives women with cancer an option to preserve their fertility despite receiving radiation treatments. Ms. Lintner, who now has a healthy baby girl, says the procedure changed her life. "She is an absolute joy. She is the light of my life, and I feel complete. She was meant to be."
Baby Maia celebrates her first birthday in February.