The University of Texas Medical Branch is one of only four hospitals in Texas to receive the Center of Excellence in Minimally Invasive Gynecology designation, signifying the highest level of laparoscopic gynecological expertise. The AAGL — the world’s premier professional society dedicated to minimally invasive surgery in gynecology — has designated only 44 Centers of Excellence in the United States.
“Earning the Center of Excellence designation signifies our ability to consistently deliver the safest, highest-quality care to our patients,” said Donna Sollenberger, executive vice president and chief executive officer for the UTMB Health System. “We are so proud of our gifted surgeons and their deep commitment to advancing new techniques that offer so many benefits to the women who put their health in our hands.”
UTMB has a designated team of gynecological surgeons who specialize exclusively in minimally invasive robotic surgery: Drs. Sami Kilic, Ana M. Rodriguez and Mostafa Borahay. Together, they have spent the past five years developing innovative surgical techniques, conducting research on the effectiveness of their work, publishing and presenting their methodologies, training other surgeons from around the country, and traveling internationally to train colleagues in England, Germany, Sweden, Belgium, Turkey and Egypt.
Using state-of-the-art minimally invasive techniques, the UTMB physicians can treat endometriosis, uterine fibroids, pelvic pain, uterine prolapse, heavy bleeding, cervical cancer and pregnancy complications such as incompetent cervix. The team has particular expertise in a wide range of minimally invasive hysterectomy techniques. When judging an institution’s expertise in performing such procedures using minimally invasive methods, the association monitored patient safety as a top priority.
“Our community benefits tremendously by having access to such a high level of innovative surgical expertise right here at home,” said Sollenberger. “Patients do not have to travel to get world-class care.”
Borahay specializes in hysterectomies performed with a small incision through the navel, leaving a woman’s abdomen virtually scar-free. Compared to a traditional abdominal hysterectomy with a long incision, recovery time is significantly shorter. He also uses state-of-the-art minimally invasive technology to treat conditions like uterine fibroids, endometriosis, pelvic pain and abnormal uterine bleeding.
Rodriguez specializes in robotic hysterectomy for women whose uterine problems do not involve cancer. She is also an expert in tubal sterilization using the new Essure method in which microinsert coils are implanted in a woman’s fallopian tubes. Rodriguez leads a national research team studying the effectiveness of this new permanent contraception method.
Kilic is an international pioneer of gynecologic robotic surgery and training protocols and was recruited by UTMB five years ago to spearhead its robotic surgery training program. He is an editor of the first textbook on robotic gynecological surgery, to be published this summer. He leads UTMB’s national gynecologic robotic surgery simulation training center and is currently developing international standards for training medical students and physicians. Besides performing gynecologic surgery of nearly every type, he is particularly expert in techniques for addressing pelvic pain and prolapse. He developed a safer technique for cervical cerclage surgery on a pregnant patient using the da Vinci Si robotic surgical system and performed the first successful case in the world.
The AAGL, formerly the American Association of Gynecologic Laparoscopists, is the leading association promoting minimally invasive gynecologic surgery among surgeons worldwide. With membership extending to over 100 countries, the AAGL includes the foremost authorities in gynecology and pioneers in technique and procedures.