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Ann Guariniello

Her year-long struggle with pain and anxiety ends with robotic single site gall bladder surgery.

One part of the working definition of “mom” is putting the needs of the family ahead of her own. “Moms tend to put things aside and don’t pay a lot of attention to themselves,” says Ann Guariniello of Stow, a wife and mother of two. “They’re too busy caring for their family.”

For months, Guariniello lived this definition.

In May 2011, she began experiencing pain in her stomach. At first, she thought it was typical stomach pain such as indigestion. She admits that she didn’t take it seriously.

But after a year of sometimes excruciating pain that wasn’t getting any better, Guariniello realized there was something seriously wrong. Doctors were unable to diagnose her, adding to her anxiety.

Finally, Guariniello’s primary care physician referred her to Adrian G. Dan, M.D., Summa Physician Inc. – Bariatric and General Surgery and chief of the Division of Robotic General Surgery for Summa Health System.

Dr. Dan diagnosed biliary sludge and a form of gall stones and recommended removal of her gall bladder. He performed a new procedure – robotic single site cholecystectomy (surgical removal of the gall bladder) at Summa Akron City Hospital in May. The benefit of robotic single site cholecystectomy, as compared with traditional laparoscopic cholecystectomy, is the single surgical incision site within the belly button, which means less pain and a virtually scar-free procedure.

Another benefit: quicker recovery. Guariniello was home the night of surgery. Comparing it to other laparoscopic surgical procedures she has undergone in the past, where her hospital stay was two or three days, Guariniello knew immediately that this surgery was different. “I knew once I came out of recovery I was going to be in and out of the hospital,” she points out. “The surgery was much quicker and less intrusive.”

Soon, Guariniello was back to her normal life with her husband, Darrell, and children. “The robotic technology allowed me to move around so much quicker than my previous procedures,” she says. Physically, it is next to impossible to find the surgical scar.

Overall, the experience was very positive for Guariniello. She took the opportunity to change her diet and lost 25 pounds. “I feel amazing,” she says. “It’s like I never skipped a beat.”

Guariniello was one of the first patients to undergo robotic single site cholecystectomy at Summa Akron City Hospital. She never hesitated when Dr. Dan offered it as an option. “I didn’t give him a chance to question why I was so willing to undergo a new procedure,” she says. “I wanted my gall bladder removed, and I knew I was in good hands with Dr. Dan. I had a lot of confidence going into surgery.”

Guariniello carries that confidence with her after surgery, as well. Her children keep her and her husband busy traveling from one activity to the next. She enjoys each one, free from the anxiety that came with the almost constant pain and not knowing what was wrong. “I feel healthy and whole again,” she says.