Raleigh General Hospital doctor completes 500 da Vinci surgeries

June 4, 2018

One of Raleigh General Hospital's OB-GYNs has reached a special milestone in his career — Dr. Norman Lang Siegel has completed more than 500 gynecologic da Vinci surgeries. 

Siegel, a Brooklyn native who trained at Johns Hopkins in Baltimore, has been part of Raleigh General's OB-GYN Associates since 1991. 

"The same thing that made me come here is what kept me here — it was appealing to be in a group in which everyone worked together, trying to do the best they could for their patients," Siegel said. 

At the suggestion of Dr. Judd Lindley, the da Vinci program has been available since 2011 at Raleigh General. Since then, surgeons at the hospital have completed more than 2,500 procedures, more than 1,700 of which have been gynecologic procedures. Lindley, too, will soon reach 500 surgeries performed. 

The da Vinci system is powered by robotic technology that allows the surgeon’s hand movements to be translated into smaller, precise movements of tiny instruments inside the patient’s body. 

Siegel said the da Vinci system is minimally invasive compared to laparotomy (a surgical incision into the abdominal cavity), infection rates are lower, and the procedure is more cosmetic for patients of all weights. 

Recovery time is less for da Vinci surgeries, and much less blood is lost during procedures, Siegel added. Oftentimes, patients are discharged the same day of surgery. 

Gynecologic da Vinci surgeries include hysterectomy (removal of uterus), salphingectomy (removal of tubes), oophorectomy (removal of ovaries), endometriosis and tubal pregnancies.

For Siegel, the most important part of the entire process is before the surgery ever begins — informed consent.

"No one should have surgery when less invasive treatment is effective and tolerated," he said. "The main purpose of informed consent is a tool in advising a patient of the risks, benefits and alternatives of any given treatment." 

He said da Vinci surgeries require an experienced team, especially the first assistant to the surgeon. Siegel acknowledged the professionalism, dedication and talent of a first assistant who has been present at two-thirds of all the da Vinci procedures — Karen Rainey, PA-C. 

"All of the gynecologic da Vinci surgeons have her vacation schedule months in advance and jockey to have their cases with her," Siegel said. 

In addition to enjoying working with an incredible team, Siegel said he enjoys performing the procedures as well. 

"When you get better and better at procedures, there's the satisfaction of doing it well," he said. "It's like meditation — it's one of the few times I'm not talking, and I'm concentrating on a task, particularly with the da Vinci."

When the 65-year-old isn't working, he said he enjoys spending time with his wife, Deborah Ann Siegel, and their dogs, watching procedural dramas, and reading and writing poetry. Siegel has two adult daughters — Chet and Margaux.  

— Email: wholdren@register-herald.com and follow on Twitter @WendyHoldren