New Firefly Technology lights-up da Vinci endometriosis surgery at Kingwood Medical Center, a ‘first’ in the Houston area

Patients treated at Kingwood Medical Center, an HCA Affiliated Hospital, now have a new, distinct advantage beginning with the first endometriosis robotic-assisted surgery of its kind in the Houston area. In November, Jennifer Browning, MD, Obstetrician and Gynecologist, at Kingwood Medical Center utilized the da Vinci Robot outfitted with Firefly fluorescence imaging to cure the chronic pelvic pain of patient Molly Gundrum.

For over six months, Molly Gundrum, age 24, experienced sharp pain on the left side of her body between her hip bone and rib cage. “I tried to ease the pain with over-the-counter medication but it did not help,” said Ms. Gundrum. “When the pain became so severe that I began having problems sleeping, I made an appointment with my gynecologist Dr. Browning.”

Molly Gundrum has a family history of endometriosis. Endometriosis is usually diagnosed between ages 25 to 35 but can occur anytime during a woman’s reproductive years – menstruation through menopause. Family history plays an important role; a woman who has a mother or sister with endometriosis is six times more likely to develop this condition, according to the National Institute of Health.

In order to investigate the cause of her pelvic pain, Dr. Browning discussed the options available and why da Vinci surgery may be the best option.

“With the addition of Firefly fluorescence imaging, I can visualize the lesions in the tissue more clearly, which improves my precision and accuracy. I feel confident operating with the da Vinci Surgical System. It is the best option now available for diagnosing and treating chronic pelvic pain,” said Dr. Browning at Kingwood Medical Center.

“The injection of fluorescent dye binds to plasma proteins in the blood, which lights up areas of hypervascularity to help isolate microscopic lesions which are removed during surgery. The Firefly technology assists with improving outcomes for treating chronic pelvic pain, which reduces the need for additional surgeries, and enhances the overall quality of life for my patients.”

“Our surgeons are ahead of the curve with robotic-assisted technology, which allows us to provide our community with the best possible gynecologic treatments and the best surgical solutions available in healthcare today,” said Melinda Stephenson, CEO at Kingwood Medical Center.

Since 2012, Kingwood Medical Center has offered the da Vinci Surgical System as an alternative to both traditional open surgery and conventional laparoscopy. With the da Vinci Surgical System, patients have the potential for significantly less pain, a shorter hospital stay, minimal scarring, lower rate of complications, and a faster return to normal daily activities. At Kingwood Medical Center, the da Vinci Surgical System can be used on complex minimally invasive surgical procedures including gynecologic, urologic, colorectal, and gall bladder surgeries.

For years, traditional surgeries and laparoscopies were the only surgical options available for patients with certain medical conditions. The da Vinci Robotic System features a magnified 3D high-definition vision system and special wristed instruments that bend and rotate far greater than the human wrist. As a result, da Vinci enables the surgeon to operate with small incisions – instead of 6-to-12-inch incisions that are common in surgeries –resulting in less pain, smaller scars, and faster recovery.

Dr. Jennifer Browning is the first surgeon in Houston to utilize the da Vinci Surgical System with Firefly fluorescent technology for the treatment of endometriosis. Dr. Browning is board-certified by the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology. She completed medical school and her residency at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston, Texas; and completed a fellowship at the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Dr. Browning serves as the Chair of the Robotics Steering Committee at Kingwood Medical Center.