Robotic Pyeloplasty Patient Story

For Damon Gibbs, a trip to his primary care physician to evaluate his increasingly high blood pressure turned out to be a blessing in disguise.  Otherwise healthy and active, the director of Facilities for Hall County Schools was unaware his sudden high blood pressure was caused by a larger problem – one that had gone undetected his whole life. 

With initial blood work indicating a possible kidney function problem, Gibbs was referred by his physician to Ryan Fogg, MD, a urologist with Gainesville Urology.  Further testing by Dr. Fogg revealed Gibbs had ureteropelvic junction (UPJ) obstruction – a congenital condition caused by the narrowing of the area between the ureter and a section of the kidney known as the renal pelvis. 

Most commonly diagnosed in young children, UPJ obstruction blocks urine flow from the kidney.  If left untreated, it can lead to infection, kidney failure, chronic pain and hypertension.

“In Mr. Gibbs’s case, the congenital condition remained undetected until a kidney stone aggravated the area, causing severe swelling and high blood pressure,” says Dr. Fogg. 

 “It wasn’t a matter of if I was getting it fixed,” says Gibbs.  “I knew something had to be done soon to restore kidney function and to protect against any future damage.”

Dr. Fogg suggested pyeloplasty – a surgical procedure used to remove the blocked area and reconnect the healthy sections of the ureter and kidney – and mentioned Gibbs might be a candidate to have the procedure done robotically.

 “Utilizing the da Vinci Surgical System, robotic pyeloplasty offers the same high success rate as open pyeloplasty, but with smaller incisions, meaning less pain, a shorter hospital stay and, in general, a shorter recovery time,” says Dr. Fogg.

Gibbs, who previously had minimally invasive gallbladder surgery, was intrigued.  He became the first patient ever to receive a robotic pyeloplasty at Northeast Georgia Medical Center. 

“Immediately following his procedure, Mr. Gibbs experienced improved kidney function and urine flow,” says Dr. Fogg.  “Within weeks, he was off his blood pressure medications completely.” 

“I’ve never been a fan of downtime,” says Gibbs.  “It was important for me to get back to my everyday life quickly – and I did, thanks to a quality surgeon and a good robot.” 

For more information about robotic pyeloplasty and other minimally invasive urological procedures offered at Northeast Georgia Medical Center, call 770-219-3840.