Patient story: da Vinci Xi® robot helps make surgery 'simple'

Peg Donahue

Peg Donahue is the first patient at St. Peter’s to receive partial nephrectomy surgery with the da Vinci Xi® robot.

February 18, 2020

During a recent visit to St. Peter’s Health, Peg Donahue was happy to report that she is cancer free.

The Helena resident was diagnosed with kidney cancer in April 2019. Several months after her diagnosis, Peg was the first patient at St. Peter’s to receive partial nephrectomy surgery with the da Vinci Xi® robot.

In a word, Peg called the robotic-assisted surgery to remove the tumor on her kidney “simple.”

“It wasn’t painful, my recovery was almost immediate,” she said.

Robotics program benefits

St. Peter’s urologist Dr. Kevin Brown performed Peg's surgery using the da Vinci Xi®, which is part of the St. Peter’s robotics program that launched in 2019. In addition to allowing medical staff to complete new surgeries at St. Peter’s, robotic-assisted surgery can have many benefits, including shorter hospital stays, reduced pain and faster recovery times.

Dr. Brown performs a select set of urologic surgical procedures using the da Vinci Xi®. Gynecological and general surgery procedures using the robot are also performed by St. Peter’s medical staff.

The introduction of the robotics program at St. Peter’s is part of a $10 million operating room renovation project scheduled to be completed in 2020. When completed, St. Peter’s will have six state-of-the-art surgical suites.

Peg’s surgery included a set of small incisions. She spent one night in the hospital before going home.

“There’s something so great about staying here and getting the care. It’s nice to have that sophistication (in Helena),” she said, adding that Dr. Brown is “such a gentle, reassuring, calm person.”

Her continuing care at St. Peter’s includes regular CT scans to monitor her kidney. 

“I can’t tell you how much I love the staff (at St. Peter’s),” she said. “They make you feel like you matter. They really take care of you.”


Robotic-assisted surgery at St. Peter's Health

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