Pennington Resident Finds Advanced GI Surgery In His Neighborhood
"I thought I would have to travel to Philadelphia many more times. But then I found Capital Health and it’s practically right in the neighborhood. It all worked out perfectly.”
When Joseph Egrie of Pennington got the news that he needed surgery to remove a tumor from his stomach wall, he had concerns that went beyond his health.
Joe’s tumor was discovered in 2010 during imaging procedures for a heart operation he was having in Philadelphia. Years earlier, he also had surgery to remove a benign polyp at a hospital in Philadelphia. The inconvenience of more trips back and forth to the city made the diagnosis of the stomach tumor even worse.
Joe needed another solution, and he found one in a newsletter he received from Capital Health.
“I saw Dr. Rosato’s name, and it said he was in Ewing [Dr. Rosato’s office has since been relocated in the medical office building that’s part of Capital Health Medical Center – Hopewell],” Joe remembers about the newsletter. “And I thought, was it Dr. Ernest Rosato who operated on me years before in Philadelphia? So I made an appointment at Advanced Surgical Associates of New Jersey.”
At his appointment, Joe was surprised to meet Dr. Francis Rosato, who happens to be Dr. Ernest Rosato’s nephew. “I was very impressed with Dr. Rosato and very happy to meet him,” Joe said. “He explained everything to me about my tumor and described what the procedure to remove it would be like. He made me feel very comfortable, and I had confidence in him.”
Joe was also impressed with Dr. Rosato’s staff, describing them as “nice and knowledgeable and very professional.” He was glad, too, that he was called in within a few minutes of arriving at the office and that he didn’t have to wait long for Dr. Rosato after being shown to the exam room.
Tumors like Joe’s, called gastrointestinal stromal tumors (GIST) are fairly rare tumors that can start anywhere in the digestive system but usually start in the stomach. Slightly more common in men, they’re most often found in people over 50 and may or may not be malignant.
The main treatment for a GIST that hasn’t spread is usually surgery during which the tumor and some surrounding tissue are removed. In the hands of a specially trained surgeon with experience in advanced minimally invasive surgery, the procedure can be done laparoscopically – without the need for a large incision. Fortunately for Joe, Dr. Rosato is one of the area’s foremost experts in these procedures.
The procedure Dr. Rosato used to remove Joe’s tumor, called laparoscopic gastrectomy, was the first operation of its kind performed in the Mercer-Bucks area.
Usually, laparoscopic gastrectomy requires five tiny incisions, no more than a centimeter in size. The small incisions serve as port sites through which the laparoscope, a thin, flexible tube with a tiny video camera attached is passed to provide the surgeon with high-definition views of the entire abdomen. Instruments that are used to remove the tumor are also passed through the small opening.
Unlike the traditional abdominal surgery Joe had in the past, the laparoscopic gastrectomy didn’t involve a long recovery time since there was no large incision. And just as Dr. Rosato had said, Joe experienced very little discomfort after the procedure and a short recovery time.
“To me, it was painless,” Joe says of the procedure. “Everyone at the hospital was very pleasant and professional and provided great care. I was home four days later feeling strong enough to take care of things around the house again.”
The next step for Joe after the operation was a visit to an oncologist, Dr. Bernard Grossman. “I had to see if I needed any additional treatment,” Joe recalled. “But he said “you’re clear, go home,’ and I was elated.”
Having access to a highly trained expert in complex minimally invasive procedures right here in Mercer County made a tremendous difference in Joe’s life. “I thought I would have to travel to Philadelphia many more times,” he said. “But then I found Capital Health and it’s practically right in the neighborhood. It all worked out perfectly.”