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Complex Abdominal Surgeries Are ‘a Very Common Scenario Here’

February 02, 2024

With Florida’s busiest Level One Trauma Center, Orlando Health Orlando Regional Medical Center (ORMC) treats some of the most complex abdominal cases in the state. This has prepared the 11-member specialized surgical team with decades of extensive experience managing patients who need complicated hernia repair and abdominal wall reconstruction.

Michael Cheatham, MD

“Highly complex is routine for us,” says Michael Cheatham, MD, a board-certified critical care surgeon with Orlando Health Medical Group Surgery. “A patient unable to find anyone willing to operate on them because of their complexity is a very common scenario here.”

Patients routinely present with multiple failed hernia repairs, chronic pain, draining infections and complicating comorbidities. Some have been traumatically injured. Others have infected prosthetic mesh or take medications that interfere with wound healing. Still others suffer complicated post-operative incisional hernias and complex enterocutaneous fistulas (ECF).

“Some patients have even contemplated suicide because they see no hope,” says Dr. Cheatham. “But at Orlando Health, we often see these cases as kind of a garden variety, everyday hernia. We're able to restore them to normal activity and function, which is immensely gratifying.”

Repair options range from open to laparoscopic to minimally invasive robotic-assisted procedures using the da Vinci surgical system. All are individualized so the patient has the best chance to resume a normal lifestyle with minimal risk of recurrence.

Each member of Orlando Health Medical Group Surgery is board certified in surgical critical care and many have participated in numerous studies and international conferences on the management of complex abdominal reconstruction. Additionally, Orlando Health ORMC is recognized among the best in the nation by the IBM Watson Health 100 Top Hospitals study for 2021.

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