Getting Bella Back in the Game
Minimally invasive kidney surgery speeds a teen athlete’s recovery
For Bella Ottone, nothing’s as exciting as playing soccer, so being taken off the field was a crushing blow.
The Warwick teen suddenly experienced excruciating abdominal pain and was brought to Hasbro Children’s Hospital.
Doctors found the culprit: a blockage in her left kidney. They placed a stent (a small tube) to fix the problem temporarily and relieve the pain, but the 15-year-old would need surgery. Bella says she “freaked out.”
“I knew I would be missing a lot just going to the hospital, never mind having surgery,” says the Toll Gate High School student.
Fortunately, Hasbro Children’s urologist Liza Aguiar, MD, had a new option for Bella: minimally invasive pediatric urologic surgery. Compared to traditional surgery, what the innovative technique meant for Bella was less scarring, less pain after surgery, and a quicker return to activities like soccer.
Aguiar performed Rhode Island’s first minimally invasive pediatric urology surgery using the da Vinci Surgical System, which is powered by robotic technology.
“This option is most useful for areas of the body that (previously were) hard to access without using a large incision,” explains Aguiar. Three pea-sized incisions, including one that was hidden in the teen’s belly button, were all that was needed.
“I can’t say enough about Dr. (Anthony) Caldamone, who saw Bella in the ER, and Dr. Aguiar and her staff,” says Bella’s mother, Lisa Ottone. “I would trust Dr. Aguiar with anything.”
Bella was back on the field for spring soccer and has set a high goal for her sophomore season.
“I’d like to make varsity, but the competition will be tough,” she says. “Whether it’s varsity or junior varsity, I just want to be out there playing.”
Thanks to the skilled physicians at Hasbro Children’s Hospital, Bella will be.